Friday, October 28, 2011

My Biggest Book Nerd-Out

Over at Book Riot, we're running a book blogger appreciation contest. For all you bloggers, just write about your biggest book nerd moment and you'll be entered. Full details here. I'm not eligible (naturally), but I wanted to participate. So here's my non-entry entry.
On Christmas eve, 1997, I camped out for Toni Morrison. It was the publication day of Paradise, her first novel since winning the Nobel Prize in 1993, and the promised final installment in a trilogy beginning with Beloved and Jazz.

So it was a major release by a major writer, but it was also a rite of passage for me. About six weeks earlier, I had decided to change majors, from pre-med to English. For me this was more than a change in required courses or even career path, it was an acknowledgement of who I was and who I wanted to be.
I was a book person and wanted to spend my life in books. 
So I went down to my local Borders (now gone like all the rest), and waited for the doors to open at 7am. There was a crowd of holiday shoppers there, but as I zipped to the new hardcover section, no one followed; I was the only there for Paradise. For some reason, I thought there would be others. 
I was disappointed. This was no opening weekend of a blockbuster movie or first day of the baseball season. It was just me. 
But then I looked around and saw the frantic, last-minute shopping around me. It wasn’t that these people weren’t interested in books; they were buying them by the armful. But they didn't care about them as I did, didn’t live for them as I did (and still do.) And that made me feel good about me. 
I couldn’t start reading Paradise that day; the holiday hustle was in full swing. But the afternoon of Christmas day, familial cheer activities fully discharged, I took my gifts up to my room, piled them in the corner, and shut the door. Then, for the next nine hours, I read. 
And I haven’t stopped.


  1. Pre-med! No wonder you have such smart brains!

  2. As the Crowe Flies and ReadsOctober 28, 2011 at 5:07 PM

    I enjoyed this moment of booknerd-dom.  thanks for sharing!

  3. Wow I have had very similar experiences over the years. Great post. 

  4. I would have been right there with you!  I love her, and I think that Paradise is actually her best book.  I'm glad you decided to "follow your bliss", as the Oprah-esque saying goes.

  5. Oh ho, so typical of people like you and me! I had to succumb recently and buy a Kindle - my house has NO MORE SPACE, but it hasn't stopped me. The Singapore Writers Festival is on right now, must rush off.

    Great post, nice to meet a kind(le)red spirit. 

  6. English majors unite!!