I’m nuts. I have a hyper obsessive personality. When I’m into something, I go all in. Usually for me, “going all in” manifests as creating lists and spreadsheets and graphs. In addition, obsessions in my life are often accompanied by goal-oriented tasks I must complete. You know, to keep life interesting.
At the beginning of this year, my new “thing” became reading. I’ve always been a reader, but never a consistent one. As a New Year’s resolution, I challenged myself to reading for at least half an hour a night before bed. This was connected to a bigger challenge of reading all of the books on my shelf in alphabetical order by author’s last name. So far, this challenge is going well.
But this resolution only led into a new type of challenge. Somewhere along the line, I realized that I need to put a limit to the money I spend on books, or else I would want to purchase all the books ever written. Unfortunately, I don’t have the space or budget for this kind of book buying.
Thus, in July, the Great Leafton Area Book Tour was born. One evening, at peak compulsion level, I created a list of all the bookstores in the greater Leafton area that were within a one hour drive from my apartment. I originally wanted to limit this list to Used and Independent bookstores, but eventually I opened it up to all bookstores, including textbook and big chain bookstores. I also have a fear of running out of things. My current list has 91 stores on it. Every time I finish reading a book on my shelf, I visit the next store on my list, in alphabetical order.
So far I have visited 3 of the 91 stores on my list.
I visited the first bookstore the day after I completed my list. I had a short day at work and I was flying high from the satisfaction of a list well compiled. I walked the 30 minutes down Olde Street to a small used bookstore with reasonable prices. I bought The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingslover there for a toonie.
My boyfriend Ant was persuaded to join me for the second stop on my tour. It was another used bookstore, in a more sketchy area across town. It was in Leafton’s west side at Diana and Sherbert. The bookstore itself was super cute and cosy. It had two resident cats to make the experience more enjoyable. While this particular store specialized in rare and out of print books, I ended up buying Pulp by Charles Bukowksi.
Just last weekend, completion of The Robber Bride sent Ant and I to yet another used bookstore. This one was outside of the city in the city of Hamkar. It was a 40 minute ride. The store was situated within an old house on the city’s main street. I think it was my favourite of the three. While we were browsing, Ant discovered a reference library book of old composers. He explained excitedly that if he purchased this book, he could read a chapter about the composer, listen to their music and learn to play a song for each one. That sounded like an Alexis plan if I’ve ever heard one. We purchased that book for Ant and a contemporary romance novel for me.
On the car ride home, I asked Ant playfully, “aren’t you glad you get to tour the city’s bookstores with your crazy girlfriend?”
Ant’s not typically fond of extensive long winded plans. Most people, in fact, do not engage in city wide tours of anything. I expected him to tease me for being so caught up in another one of my obsessions. Instead, he patted me on the head and smiled, “it’s an honour.”