Accountability, and those who shirk it.

I love blaming other people for things. Take my reading-specific ADD, for example. I have so many interests, but I can't concentrate totally on any one of them further than the length of one book on the topic. In fact, sometimes it's even less time than that.

And I blame that on working in a library: seeing the new books come in, other librarians putting publishers' catalogues in my inbox, and the Google Alerts made possible because the company is capable of trolling the web, looking for topics of interest to me. Oh, and Amazon. Amazon is a major culprit. Not only do they dare exist, but they have information on nearly any book I may want to read. The same goes for my system's library collection, which includes the holdings of dozens of libraries. Not to mention WorldCat. It's exactly what it sounds like – a catalogue of every book owned by every participating library in the world. In. The. World.

They're all at fault. Every damn one of them. All I need is a title, or subject, and sometimes only one of these. Then off I go.

I have a lot of interests. A few of them include: the Salem witch trials, cemeteries in New England, insanity – especially the history of the subject which relates to women, contemporary politics (both sides), Colonial New England, philosophy, and nonfiction relating to how the brain works, plus other sociological subjects – including human behavior, the need/reason for religion, and so much else.

No matter what the interest, I always find some bastard has written a book on it. Often, several bastards. Some of them even dare to write good books. The ones who write crap, those take little time, requiring less irritation. I read a couple chapters and away it goes. But those good books, the ones that are more rare, but require more attention? There are too damn many of them to keep up with.

I can't catch up with the books written on my current interests, much less future books – on other topics I haven't thought of yet – which will come out while I'm trying madly to catch up with what I care about today. Don't they know how difficult they're making it for me? You'd think the point was moot to them. They care so little; I believe they're nihilists.

To make matters so much worse, I not only check out or buy paper and glue books; I also try to have at least one audiobook going at any given time. Again, some of them are crap, and I can return them quickly and without compunction. Then, along comes a really good one, like this:

Voluntary Madness: My Year Lost and Found in the Loony Bin by Norah Vincent

Was it necessary for her to – first off – write the book, then to write it well? Did the publisher honestly feel it behooved them to hire a reader for the book on CD who spoke with perfect inflection, showcasing Vincent's appealingly dry sense of humor? Apparently so. Heartless bastards.

Vincent had to go and write a book about her experiences with plunging into a truly deep depression, resulting in the need to temporarily check herself into a mental hospital. Then, because she decided to go back and fully investigate how the "mentally ill" are treated, she went back, faking the symptoms she was all too familiar with, having struggled with depression much of her life. Her exposure of the rampant injustices common to mental hospitals is fascinating and heartbreaking, and her own musings well-reasoned and often hilarious. There's nothing not to love, though I find myself forced to circle my neighborhood a time or two in order to finish the occasional chapter I'm in the middle of.

I blame all of you enablers. You are the reason I'm a book whore. This did not happen on its own. You should pay for what you've done to me;  I demand retribution. I cannot be held responsible for my attraction to your shiny objects, just as I cannot blame myself for my attraction to Oreo cookies, and subsequent need to inhale one with every breath of air until the package is empty. And by the way, why don't you make the packages bigger? Is this another conspiracy? I have pen and paper next to me; I will write my Congressperson posthaste – perhaps copying the White House, should I feel inclined.

Sitting here now, paging through the New York Times Book Review, what do I see. More irresistable books. More potential time spent reading – producing a more enlightened, educated mind, time I could well spend watching Project Runway, More to Love, or the trainwreck that is Jon & Kate Plus Eight (minus Jon, or Kate, depending on the week).

Do I need to spell this out more clearly for you? Am I not coming through? I'll put it simply: do NOT publish anything interesting until I give you the word. And then, publish only so many books as I can have the time to read and truly relish. Stop the madness, before I conduct my own research alongside Norah Vincent!

You have not heard the last of me!



Thanks for lending me an ear. I appreciate it. I'm still angry, but I appreciate it. Just don't let it happen again and we'll be square.

2 thoughts on “Accountability, and those who shirk it.

  1. This is, um, so wonderfully appropriate. Because I completely relate to the reading ADD. I’m always reading a dozen books at a time. And there are so many more I want to read too.
    You are so funny!


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