I grew up attending Catholic school, complete with plaid jumpers, nuns, and occasionally, class trips to the confessional in the adjacent church. When I look back on my storied past as book fiend, I find several book adjacent sins I should have confessed to kindly Fr. Roger. As that time has passed, instead I shall confess to you. Please have mercy upon my eternal book loving soul.
First, I must come clean about the Harlequin romance novels. As the eldest of five children, I was allowed to stay home when my mom took my siblings to summer swim practice. The instant the van pulled out of the carport, I’d dash into my parent’s bedroom, perch on their waterbed, and thumb through my mom’s Harlequins, searching for the good parts. I didn’t need to have completed puberty to have a complete fascination with all things S-E-X. I was in. The good parts were salacious. Heady. Addictive. I was hooked.
However, like summer itself, my secret affair with my mom’s books was fleeting. Once my siblings had graduated out of polliwogs, I had to find another way to score my vice. To the library I went, but like any young lady in a heist, I brought a stylish handbag. I would check out age-appropriate books, but with no parentals in sight, I’d also check out a secret stash. Books way above my reading level. Books with swearing and murder and S-E-X. I’d smuggle the naughty books home in my purse, hide them under the cushion of my thrift shop papasan chair, and read at night where no one could see, like a proper addict.
I face my next confession with embarrassment despite the dulling effects of time, because it is of a potent variety: middle school embarrassment. In eighth grade, we had to do projects on our cultural background. Did I interview my parents and toss in a recipe like a normal kid? Certainly not. As a serial book lover, I visited the library to conduct thorough research. Leaving the library with a stack of books in academic triumph, I danced along the stairs, perhaps busting out my very cool running man or Roger Rabbit moves. Instead of impressing any bystanders, instead, I tripped and fell. I ended up at the doctor, my ankle sprained. The next day, I showed up at school on crutches. Oh, the utter shame of having a library injury. Let me repeat it so that the full eighth grade horror might sink into your soul: I showed up at middle school with a library injury. How could I ever live this down? The truth was, I couldn’t. So I lied and made up some tale that cast me in a more heroic, less gangly light. I can only hope for forgiveness for this addition to my book-centered sins.
There is one more wrongdoing that I must share. This final confession is a doozy, known to anyone who would be reading a book blog, and it deserves to be categorized with mortal sins like murder and adultery.
You see, I dog-ear books.
I know. I know! It’s terrible, and I have no excuse. I realize the severity of flipping down the corner to mark the page. And yet, I have done it. I’m a destroyer of crisp pages, vandalizing the book itself. Although I held no malice in my heart and it was through sheer laziness that I committed these crimes against literature, I am still guilty. I must atone for this and my many past book sins.
And so, out of both penitence and literature love, I have dedicated myself to books. I am a voracious reader. I have donated generous funds to my local library. (Late fines count as donations, right?) And now I am an author, a writer of romance novels no less, crafting my own delicious, heady tales of love and happily ever afters with a bit of S-E-X for all those who enjoy something a little naughty. I can only pray that my dedication to my craft makes up for my past life of book sins.
Thank you for hearing my confession. And now, I must ask, if you have any book adjacent sins, misdemeanors, or crimes to get off your own chest? Please share in the comments for a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card, and may we all live lives of bookish atonement.
If you enjoyed this piece, please check out my debut novel, My Sweet Enemy, an enemies-to-lovers romcom set in a chocolate factory, released February 8th.