My Addiction

The prompt: What can you not stop doing?

The answer that comes immedietely to mind is buying books. Looking back on just this month (which is only halfway over), I’ve already purchesed a total of 20 books. That’s more than a book a day. Yikes.

It started on Election Day. With a day off from teaching, I treated myself to a quick trip to my favorite bookstore, Politics and Prose. I had heard author, Kwame Alexander on NPR the day before discussing his newest YA novel, Becoming Mohammed Ali, and I had to get it. I ended up buying it, plus 3 more. As a reading teacher, I easily justify my purchases. It’s my job to recommend books to my students and how better than to buy the newest by the best YA authors. Unfortunately, my job does not come with an expense account.

One would think these four new texts would last me for the month but no. As I scrolled through my twitter feed days later, I saw the librarian friend’s post: Virtual Book Fair beings today! Wanting to be supportive, I scrolled through 24 pages of online options and soon filled my electronic cart with 15 books. “All orders over $30 will have FREE shipping” it stated as I checked out. I easily met this requirement, times eight.

That adds up to 19. Last Friday I bought 1 more book. I had to.

It was Friday, Period 5, my last class of another long week of teaching safely from my spare bedroom using TEAMS. Staring at my computer screen, I only saw multiple circles, each filled with two intials, each centered on a gray rectangle and in the bottom left hand corner in 6pt font, a student’s name. I glanced at the clock and noticed just five minutes with my faceless 6th grade reading class. I glanced back and noticed C was here today! I’ve been worried about C. Actually my whole middle school team has been worried about him due to his sporatic attendance and his incomplete assignments piling up across all seven of his classes.

“C, how’s it going? Do you have a book to read or can I help you find one?”

A whispered voice replied, “No, I need help.”

“Great!” I answered. “Let me share my screen and remind you how to access the school’s library catalog. If you pick a book today, it can be ready for pickup during Monday’s Curbside pickup.” As I demonstrated the clicks needed to get to the catalog, I recalled conferring with C weeks ago and how the Diary of a Wimpy Kid was his favoirte series.

“Hey, C. The newest Diary of a Wimpy Kid book came out. Want to search for it?

“Oh, Yes!” an excited voice replied.

The catalog showed the school library did have a copy but it was already checked out. I voiced directions to help C successfully place this title on hold and now he was on the Wait List. Then it was time to end this class and head to lunch. I wished C a good weekend and his gray restangle, showing his initials, left my screen. I pressed the red LEAVE bar and ended our online reading class.

However, C’s “Oh, Yes!” stuck with me as I headed to the kitchen to make my lunch and happily return to my home classroom because all I had left to do was a planning period and then begin my weekend. I returned to my computer and checked C’s online file. Discovering he lived just a mile away, I impulsively grabbed my wallet and my mask and drove to my neighborhood Barnes and Nobel. They, of course, had a big display of this popular book. I quickly grabbed one, headed to the checkout and was safely back in my car in record time. (With Covid, I try not to spend too long inside a store.) Sitting in my car, I printed out this note to stick in the book:

C –
I wanted you to be the first
to borrow my classroom copy of this book.
So glad you are in my reading class.
Mrs. Donnelly

Then I sheepishly drove to the address listed in his file. Though it felt a little bit like stalking, I knew he would like getting this special delivery. So I knocked and when a woman, I assumed to be his mother answered, I simply said, “This is for C” and I handed her the book and left.

My count was 4 on Election Day. Then it grew to 19 after my impulsive book fair purchased. Then Friday’s purchase brought it to an even 20. What can I not stop doing? I can’t stop buying books. It seems like an expensive vise. Yet, I’m OK with it. Having students like C benefit from my addiction makes it perfectly OK for me.

13 thoughts on “My Addiction

  1. Ms Victor Reads says:

    My answer to your original question matches yours! I am afraid to count my totals, and books are way more expensive here (yeah, that expense account, ha!). I LOVE what you did for C. and I am sure you made his day (at least). You just have to support those readers. I love that I know your favorite book store thanks to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • sallydonnelly11 says:

      Oh….I almost forgot, I took you to this bookstore! Currently, when you arrive, they ask you to use the hand sanitizer and to not shop for more than 30 minutes and of course, you must wear a mask and the cute restaurant in the back is closed now. Glad you visited when you did. FIngers crossed you can travel again and we can shop together for books one day.


  2. glenda funk says:

    I grinned ear to ear as I read about our shared addiction, but when I read about C and your special delivery, well, a couple tears dropped. This story is so moving. All children deserve a teacher like you who invests so much. BRW, I read “Becoming Muhammad Ali” and am passing it on to a friend’s teen. And I sent my massage therapist home w/ books for her kids yesterday. I have two books awaiting a former students return from college. Sharing books is one of my favorite things.

    Liked by 1 person

    • sallydonnelly11 says:

      Thanks for reading and taking time to tell me the story touched you. I was hoping to tell it in such a way. So glad you enjoyed Becoming Mohammed Ali. My mom’s family is from Louisville and I have visited many times and enjoyed reading about a setting I know, too. The poetry is brilliant!! Kwame captured Cassius Clay so well!! Just like you, I love connecting people to books!! Such a fun hobby!!


  3. Terje says:

    I know there is a large group of people faced with can’t-stop-buying-books challenge. The only solution is to surrender. And enjoy reading. You know that your book purchases bring joy for many people.


  4. haitiruth says:

    I love it that you took C the book! That will be a distance learning story he will remember! Ruth,


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