Living With A Book Addict – Week 1

How do I characterize living with a book addict?  Well, for one thing, life is never boring, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Yes, when someone uses the term “addict”, it tends to have a negative connotation, yet I think that for Kim it’s definitely been a positive aspect of her life.  Ever since the piles of books began growing around our apartment and she began excitedly waking me up at 2am to tell me that she just finished another book, I’ve noticed a big change.  Her vocabulary and writing style has improved dramatically, and she’s become better at expressing how she feels both in print and in words.  Yes, I do sometimes get really weird dreams that are somehow intermingled with Kim telling me about her latest book, but I think it’s for the better (i.e. the other night I dreamt that I was a stuffed turkey somehow…).  Living with Kim’s passion for reading has helped me to rekindle the reading spirit in myself.  In high school I used to love reading Tom Clancy and Clive Cussler books, and although I was pretty singular in the types of books I read, I loved reading them just the same.  To be honest going to high school and college really took away the passion I had for reading as my reading switched from things I wanted to read to reading for school.  Now that I’m out of school and have some free time, I find myself drawn back into the world of reading thanks to Kim.

I always tell Kim that she reminds me of my neighbor, Uncle Ralph.  Although not technically my uncle, Uncle Ralph was a reviewer who read and critiqued books.  Although he was paid for this job, I sincerely think he would have done it for free.  The man loved books.  His house was a library, packed with towers of books that covered the gamut of subjects and tastes.  He was a virtual encyclopedia of knowledge, and if he didn’t know something off of the top of his head he would go to a filing cabinet where he literally filed pieces of information from books, magazines, and newspapers that he found interesting.  His love of books and reading extended into a love of life that I will always remember.  So, although I am now wielding my way around stacks of books in our apartment and Kim comes home sheepishly from a trip to Barnes and Noble (her second home), I look past the pages and see that her passion flourishing is in fact a reflection of a greater joy for life that she is experiencing.  So, I encourage anyone who reads this blog to take more time out of your life to read and share what you’re reading with those around you.  Because we live in a world fraught with increasing worry and conflict, a few more Uncle Ralphs and Kims out there wouldn’t hurt one bit.

Be sure and check back each week for “Living With A Book Addict”!  See you next week!

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7 thoughts on “Living With A Book Addict – Week 1

  1. Todd, I loved your post. Very well written and it definitely does give the reader a little bit of an insight into the world of Kimmy. I personally love the conversations we have about literature and just any topic in general just because she is a great person to have dialogue with. She is very knowledgeable in many different things, and it’s pretty safe to say that reading so often and so much plays a big part in that.

    How you put up with actually living with that, well that’s a totally different story! I always enjoy coming over and seeing the latest shape of your ever-growing bookshelf (and movie shelf!) to see what the latest novels are. One thing that I did tell Kim that I really think she, and you, would benefit from, are used book sales. I volunteer at the one every year in my hometown (had to miss it this year however), but I know from working them that they happen all across the state and you can get some really great books for dirt cheap and still in great condition. The one that my town puts on has 25,000+ books all for anywhere from a quarter to a dollar a book, and you can load up on a year’s worth of books for practically nothing. Plus, the people working the tables are so incredibly knowledge about all-things books that you can be lost in discussions of books for hours on end. I figured any way that a newly-married couple can save a little coin is worth mentioning.

    Keep up the great posts!

  2. Hooray for you Todd! I suspect that one of those stacks — maybe a teensy-tiny one? — is yours. 🙂

    I entirely agree that the world needs more ‘Uncle Ralphs’. My dad was one. Though he didn’t make his living from books (he was a civil engineer), he had the same love of books, stacks of books, and encyclopedic knowledge. All my growing up years, he could give me the facts and background of whatever I wanted to know. And he was never wrong.

    And you know, to this day, I just can’t leave a book spread-eagled and face down on the table if I have to get up for a minute — I know he’d skin me alive! lol

  3. Thanks for the sweet Uncle Ralph memories. He left this earth on Nov. 1st (All Saints Day), 2000. So he’s been enjoying the Great Library in the sky for ten years now – and knowing Ralph, he’s probably added a few books of Ralphisms.

  4. Nice introduction blog Mr. Todd, but don’t even talk about weird dreams. You don’t know weird dreams until you’ve been inside my brain.

  5. Todd I thank for the thoughts of my father Uncle Ralph. As my brother said you have to here people say things from the other side. It was amazing to grow up with so many books, coming everyday that the UPS man became a friend. The collapse of 3 bookshelves on Thanksgiving day is also a great memory. You take things for granted in life. 10 years later your comments are very heartfelt. Thanks Todd. Hey congrats on getting married! Jonathan

  6. Todd,
    Thank you for your touching recollection of my father, your “Uncle Ralph.” I too remember him as brilliant, with near-encyclopedic knowlege of many subjects, particularly history (mainly American). I miss that brilliance now that he’s gone. I often wish I could rely on him for information.
    Thank you, Todd
    Chris Hollenbeck

    • Todd, this is a continuation of my prior comment, which got cut off as I was typing it. Growing up with Dad (Uncle Ralph) we ran into the usual father-son conflicts, so it was hard to see him clearly; you don’t get the necessary perspective when you’re inside the relationship, so it was nice to hear someone appreciate him so much. One thing I’d like to add is that Dad was a heavy reader long before he became a book reviewer. Once he became a reviewer, he trekked from the local train station to our house carrying a briefcase stuffed with the books that he planned to review. It must have been tough on him,but he did it to support his family, which I appreciate. But then, that’s what men of his generation (he was born in 1925) did. With the benefit of distance (I’m now 59), it’s easier to appreciate my father. Things like your reminiscence of “Uncle Ralph” help a lot.
      Todd, please let me add my congratulations on your marriage to my brother’s.

      Chris Hollenbeck (

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