Featured, Kristen Houghton, Reading, Writing

Book Hoarding

October 9, 2016

Hi, my name is Betsy.

Hi, Betsy.

I am a book hoarder.

I have books dating to my childhood. They’re right next to my childhood teddy bear. I lost a lot of books decades ago when a pipe broke and drowned a bookcase. Fortunately, some of my childhood favs survived. I still have my original Grimms’ Fairy Tales. I have another collection of fairy tales that escaped. Black Beauty (minus its spine), Sand Dune Pony, My Friend Flicka and Thunderhead. Do you see a pattern here? All of the Black Stallion books. Old Yeller.

On the non-animal side, all of my Nancy Drew mysteries didn’t make it, but my complete collection of Agatha Christie did. I even have some old paperbacks with a  $.15 price on the cover. You read that right.

I can’t reread many of these books without breaking the spines and loosening the pages. But let me tell you, when I hold the spine-less Black Beauty in my hand, I remember every major scene from Beauty’s birth, Ginger’s death and reunion. I remember how many times I started crying pages before Ginger died. I knew what was coming. Didn’t matter.

Throughout my life, I’ve added books to my shelves. At last measurement, I had 104 linear feet of bookshelves. When I was in college, I was a Asian literature major, so I added several hundred books on Japan and China. Many are unmarked but have foxed pages from age. I have a collection of classic books of poetry, literary criticism, linguistics. I have one book I never read in grad school. Couldn’t get through Moby Dick, so I passed the class on Cliff Notes. Got an A. I’ve gotten this far in life not having read Moby Dick. Don’t expect an announcement that my position has changed. After that great hook, “Call Me Ishmael,” the book went downhill. Melville should have left well enough alone and stopped.

I trade books I no longer need through places like www.paperbackswap.com, donate to Goodwill and our local libraries. Why? So I can make room for newer books, most of which are signed by the authors.

When I’m not writing, I’m reading. Especially at night. I meditate in the morning and read before bed. Keeps me focused all day on writing my own stories.

My books even visit with my fav authors. Sometimes I’m lucky enough to snap a pic of them. Max and Cate Harlow, Kristen Houghton’s great PI, partied down. I guess Mad Max likes to hang out with characters I love but don’t create. So do I.

Do you still have books from your childhood? If so, what are they? Did you lose any you really miss and wish you had back? What are they?


Betsy Ashton is the author of Mad Max, Unintended Consequences, and Uncharted Territory, A Mad Max Mystery, now available at Amazon and Barnes and NobleI’m really excited that the trade paper edition of Uncharted Territory was released this week. Please follow me on my website, on TwitterFacebook and Goodreads.


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