Book Addiction – Bad!  Reading – Good! Why there are worse things than a Book Addiction!

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I have noticed recently that my to be read pile is growing at an alarming rate and my book addiction is getting worse.  I find it hard to pass a book shop without going in…’just for a look,’ which inevitably turns into the purchase of at least one book and usually several.  If there’s a two for the price of one offer on I’m sunk.  As for second hand and charity bookshops, it is not unheard of for me to come out with between eight to ten books.

I was berating myself for this the other day, as I tried to cram yet more books onto a shelf which is already overflowing.  The conversation went something like this:

Me: This is ridiculous, this book buying has really got to stop.  Look at all these books….grrrrr.

Me in reply: Oh but look at them, aren’t they fabulous?  I can’t wait to read them.

Me: Read them?  Half of those books have been sitting on that shelf for nearly two years without being read, because you keep buying more.

Me in reply: I know, but I will read them one day.

Me: One day, one day.  Just STOP buying books.  You are a total nightmare.  You keep buying new books before you have even read the ones you have.

Me in reply:  OK, I know that is a bit of a problem and I am going to try and stop doing that.  But I still think there are much worse addictions that a book addiction, and in fact some would say it’s a good way to spend your money.  I am going to think of all the reasons to justify my book addiction, and guess what I might even write a blog post about it.

Me: You do that.  (Carries on day in a huff with self.)

So, here I am ready to tell you all the reasons why it is good to buy books

  1. By the time I am an old lady (if God willing I live into old age) I will have the most fantastic book collection which I may be able to leave to a library or perhaps a group of schools, thus imparting wisdom and learning.
  2. Reading is a fantastic way to learn about life, about people, and about how to make sense of the world. Novels, short stories, poetry and non-fiction all help us in this way.  Thus, books are an essential tool in our lives.
  3. Reading a physical book means you are not looking at a screen which we all now know has to be a good thing. We are spending far too much time looking at screens to the detriment of our long-term health and wellbeing.
  4. Reading stimulates the mind. It has been shown that stimulating the mind slows down the deterioration of the mind and keeps us mentally agile.
  5. Reading helps us become more empathetic as we begin to understand how other people view the world.
  6. Reading helps us feel connected, when we see that other human beings share the same emotions and thoughts as we do.
  7. Reading makes you more intelligent.
  8. Reading helps you unwind before sleep (as long as it is not a page turner in which case, good luck!)
  9. Reading helps you escape your daily grind by taking you to exotic and exciting places.
  10. According to researchers at theUniversity of Sussex, reading for just six minutes can help reduce stress levels by up to 68 percent.

I rest my case.  Now if someone could just help me figure out how to stop buying books until I have read the ones I already have, that would be great.

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Big Magic. Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

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Are you creative? Have you ever considered that question? Well Elizabeth Gilbert has given it serious consideration and has published her thoughts in ‘Big Magic. Creative Living Beyond Fear.’
Having watched her Ted Talk on said subject, I was immediately curious when I read about the publication of this book, because I thought her talk was witty, informative and inspiring.

This may be seen as another ‘self-help’ book, but whether you loved ‘Eat Pray Love’ or hated it, Gilbert apparently doesn’t care either way, and this attitude permeates much of her advice regarding creativity – i.e. – don’t give a damn about what anyone thinks, just do it anyway.

The book is divided up into six parts, entitled; Courage, Enchantment, Permission, Persistence, Trust and Divinity. Through a mixture of her own experiences, anecdotes and words of wisdom she has collected from others, she takes us on a journey through our own creative minds. She begins with a very pertinent question: ‘Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?’ She goes on to say that if we can find the courage to uncover the hidden jewels of creativity that may be lying dormant within us, then we can turn a mundane existence into a more interesting and therefore extraordinary life.

She urges us to follow our curiosity, saying “curiosity is the truth and the way of creative living”.
This is not an intellectual book. There is no scientific evidence for any of it. It is more like a pep talk from your best friend, albeit with plenty of good anecdotes, quotes and ideas thrown in.

However, despite its lack of serious research, what I love about this book is not only the wit, charm and wisdom displayed in every chapter, but that it does provide practical advice, and it also made me feel more inspired. Gilbert doesn’t expect us to be geniuses or to be perfect. She appreciates rejection, the nature of how reality can kick you up the bum, and the frustration one can sometimes experience in living a creative life. But she wants you to do it anyway, because as she says in other words, doesn’t it make life a lot more interesting?

There is also some good advice for the perfectionists out there: “You can measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your successes or failures. You can battle your demons (through therapy, recovery, prayer, or humility) instead of battling your gifts — in part by realizing that your demons were never the ones doing the work, anyhow.”

There are fabulous anecdotes within Big Magic. From Clive James painting bicycles, to a man going to a fancy dress as a lobster, only to discover it was a medieval court themed fancy dress; each anecdote contains a lesson or message on creativity.

This is a book you can pick up every day and just read a couple of pages to set you up for the day. Gilbert doesn’t preach and she doesn’t teach. Instead she shares her experiences and offers some advice to bring out your best, most interesting creative self. If you are looking for a serious book full of research and statistics, this book is not for you, but I don’t mind a bit of light hearted creative banter, in fact I enjoy it enormously. I found this a joyful book and I would recommend it – you may just find that nugget of wisdom you seek.