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May 29, 2009

Deb Caletti: Bookless in Seattle

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LinkLinkLinkdeb01.jpgPrinceCharming.jpgWhat's a reading fanatic to do when nothing on the shelf quite fits the bill and the local library's closed for the weekend? In today's guest blog, Deb Caletti --- whose latest novel, THE SECRET LIFE OF PRINCE CHARMING, hit stores last month --- professes her own unique brand "book love," and recounts how she spent her Memorial Day looking for "The One."

For more info on Deb Caletti, please visit her Facebook fan page.


The night before last, I ran out of books to read. I didn’t actually run out, of course, because I have shelves and shelves of books, not to mention several stacks of unread ones, three feet of magazines, and library books, even, that I hadn’t returned yet. But there wasn’t The One. That certain something that will fill the specific craving, same as an exact and particular food item you are doomed to not have around the house (Lays Sour Cream and Onion chips, but not with the ridges, only the smooth ones). You will understand the crisis, I hope. I started a desperate search, scanned the backs of books unhappily, decided to settle on one I didn’t really want, and then changed my mind again. I pouted. I felt snappish and grumpy. My dear sweet husband asked what was wrong and I didn’t even have words for it. I had just finished a really good book, and now I was left in the sad, empty land of No Book. I was restless and despondent. I always have to be reading something. Left without, I’m some sorry astronaut separated from his shuttle, floating unanchored in space.

The next day, Memorial Day, the library was closed. God, I love the library. I can’t even begin to tell you. Anyway, instead, I went to the Half Priced Books near the Seattle neighborhood of Ravenna, where I live. They were actually having a SALE. I was so excited to be there that I accidentally parked halfway up the curb. I stayed in there for hours, to the point that I started getting weak with hunger. Really. I ate a couple of mints to tie me over. I was so happy in there. When I finally left, the store was still a vast, uncharted territory of missed chances, but I had a stack of eight books (twenty bucks --- ha!), and a better attitude. Tra la la, new book joy.

When I got home, there were things to do. Dinner, life-stuff. I couldn’t do what I most wanted --- spread the books out and do that great, slow, deciding of which to read first. My dear sweet husband asked the dreaded question: “What did you get?” I knew I’d have to show him, and that he would do what he did next: read the backs, open the centers and peruse. The perusing turned to actual reading, and I started getting testy.

“John, you’re reading,” I said.

“I’m not reading, I’m just looking.”

“But you’re looking for a real long time.”

I waited. More reading. “John, it’s against the new-book rule. You can’t read until I’ve read.”

Yes, friends, I was whining. I was whining and not sharing nicely. He put the book down. He smiled at me. This is how dear and sweet he is. He understands these things. He puts up with the greedy two year old I become when it comes to my favorite-est things --- books. I am crazy about this guy.

But I guess I am crazy about books, too. They have some power to turn me cranky and desperate and joyful and even greedy. They are anchors and roots and wings. Can you even believe all the possibilities that are there in books?! Ah... For me, reading is more than a hobby or a habit --- it’s a love and a soul-need. It’s deeply ingrained piece of who I am and how I live.

I could talk about book love forever (as you can see), but I know you’ll understand that right now I’ve got to run. Happyhappyhappy --- eight new books are calling my name.

-- Deb Caletti