Friday, October 2, 2009

What Is It About Books?

By Thea Devine

I've been thinking about books.
            No surprise there. Who doesn't? But this time it's because I've been cleaning out my office and I have a pile of books five deep and thigh high sitting on my hearth, and those were just the ones stacked on my floor. I'm nowhere near ready to empty the four bookshelves in the room. And that doesn't count the side table full of books in the room that I intend to read -- sometime. Or the back bedroom -- the alleged guest room -- that is crammed floor to ceiling with -- you guessed it -- books.
           Who needs a bed? We never have guests anyway.
           So, what it is about books?
           I know I absolutely need all those research books, and the essential to-be-read pile, and there are the books I know I'll get to -- soon; nor can I give up my beloved keepers because I'm going to read them again -- when I have time; and there are my childhood favorites I love to reread (Nancy Drew anyone?); and the books my English major husband read in college and can't bear to give up. And, all the freebies at conferences that cost more to send home than they would to buy them. I don't care. I have to have them. A friend of mine said we're like lemmings at a conference -- diving off a cliff for a box of books.
          What is it about books?
           And you know what happened this summer: we found a used bookstore in that seacoast town in Maine -- you didn't think I walked out with nothing, did you? (It was Faith Baldwin, perfectly understandable).
           And at the flea market at the fairgrounds -- what did I buy?
           Books. Who could resist a book entitled THE RAJAH’S FORTRESS?
           I'm even the Recording Secretary for my town's Friends of the Library, because we get first dibs at the book sales.
           It's not that I don't get rid of books, either. I've sold books, donated books (three boxes full just the other day), given books to friends, left books outside and invited people to take them -- yet somehow the piles in the house never grow smaller.
           I'm the one who used to tote a suitcase full of books on vacation, in case I ran out of things to read and the supermarket/bookstore/pharmacy was closed and I couldn't buy one because I'd finished all the others.
            So you'd think e-readers would be my salvation and my heaven. Two hundred books in the palm of my hand! No more suitcase. No more I'll-die-if-I-don't-have-something-to-read frenzy.
           But also two hundred books I can't pick up, page through, smell, touch, love -- maybe it's generational -- but I'm not there yet.
           So in order to cut down the paper chaos and declutter my life, I decided that if I can check the book I need out of the library, I don't have to have it in the house.
           Sane, right? Sensible. It’s why libraries were invented. (... except -- what if I need that piece of research at ten at night -- or two in the morning? ... what if I MUST read that book NOW ...?)
          Darn -- obviously THAT resolution doesn't work.

BIO:   Thea Devine is the author whose books defined erotic historical romance. Romantic Times calls her "The Queen of Erotic Romance,” Affaire de Coeur calls her: "... the divine mistress of sensual writing." Thea is the author of 18 steamy historical romances, as well as contributing novellas to Kensington Books' USA Today best-selling erotic historical romance anthologies, CAPTIVATED, FASCINATED, and TAKEN BY SURPRISE. She has also written a handful of sexy contemporary romantic novellas for Kensington and Leisure Books, and made her debut in full-length contemporary romance in 1999, with NIGHT MOVES, for Harlequin Temptation "Blaze".  Kensington has just reissued the anthology FASCINATED for its 10th Anniversary. It contains Thea’s novella, “The Pleasure Game.” Look for it on the shelves at your nearest bookstore. And, visit Thea at


  1. Great post! I agree that e-reading just isn't the same as reading and actual book. I, too, still love having paper, especially since I stare at a screen all day already. However, I do have to say it comes in handy on the subway when I can't get a seat to just be able to whip out my iPhone and read away.

  2. Awesome! I feel the same way. I have to hold that book in my hand. If I switch over to ebooks, what would become of my bookcases? Epublishing is the wave of the future, but until then, I will sport around with my hardcover books or until someone buys me a Kindle.

  3. OMG!! Thank goodness, another person like me! My piles of books are getting taller than my queen-size bed, and just about as wide. I just can't bear to part with my books. I have a friend that I give books to, but not my keeper books. That pile is still growing and growing. I do have several books on my iTouch, but I just can't be bothered reading those. I rather have paper. Guess my age is showing. But what the heck, give me a good book, a REAL book everytime.

  4. Great post. I like E-publishing, and I have a Kindle, but I'm not giving up on books. Even with a Kindle I can't keep out out bookstores.

  5. Kindred Thea, with the erotic description of thigh high books, shame that you do not have house guests...I would love to leave my own varying thigh and waist high book stacks to see yours--and I do not need a bed I could sleep along the books!