Hello Everyone.
My name is Jenn and I have a problem.
I know I’m not the only one.

I read somewhere it’s good to open with a joke.

Here goes:
I’m reading a book about anti-gravity… It’s impossible to put down.


The best part is, it’s almost always, at least half true.
My name is Jenn. I’m a bibliophile.

Alcoholics must see life through a clear, curved glass or bottle.
A bibliophile sees life through the pages of a book,
A filter sifting truth from fiction,
Trust from friction.

I knew there was a problem when, in the middle of conversation, I concluded,
I was certain,
My book held more interest.

There were signs, the sheer amount of them I suppose.
At least a thousand.
The shelves are full. They’re everywhere.
Cinched into my trunk,
Spilling from my closet,
Peeking from the sheets,
Shoved under the seats,
Cowering in my sock drawer,
Slathered in cookie dough,
Beneath a bathroom cabinet, too
There would probably be books in the woodpile… If we had one.

I wouldn’t recognize myself without books in my life.

A game I played as a kid: One where the couch, chair and table were “safe.”
The carpet full of crocodiles,
But the yellow brick road, across the snapping deep
Water, was paved in Golden Books, adventures for keeps,
The Pokey Puppy, Monster At the End This Book, Mother Goose.
Those were the words that rocked me to sleep,

Beyond the dusty doors of my grandparents house.

I learned first to read in French. A second language,
To this day,
Dino Mir? I do decline.
Remi et Aline? I re-refuse.

Bore me out of my mind.

They’re French Dick
and Jane: a means to an end.
The keys to a lock,
A lock to the door,
The door to a friend:
Great books.

But it was a slow start to great end.

To read in English,
Paper bits of adventure, SCAVENGED.

Trixie Beldon, Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, too.
Copyrights from 1962.
Dated by the dust, if they were cars, it’d be rust.
Two generations before me of kids, growing up reading.
My great-grandfather’s encyclopedias:
A spell.

I knew there was a problem when…
Days went by, I was consumed,

My kids come to the bedroom door, rap, tap-tapping,
“Mummy, are you going to make supper?”
They like books too – but not to eat.
“After this CHAPTER!
There are crackers in the cupboard!
Cheese is in the fridge,
Please don’t pout, I’ll be right out!”

It was Jean M Auel and her Clan of the Cave Bear who challenged what I thought was the Human experience.
A biblical biography at the back of my brain.
I cried.
Like Santa died, when I realized Darwin was onto something.
Abundant flawed beauty,
LM Montgomery.
And all around me.
The kids who teased. My step dad, too,
Re-cast as characters, in the strife
My own book,
called Life.
Margaret Mitchell.
Gone With the Wind.
Drapes made into a gorgeous gown.
Not exactly human rights.
More like
– a white washed version of events,
Better told in a beautiful, Book of Negroes. (Doesn’t rhyme, doesn’t flow, but it’s true so I’ll just let go.)
Struggling to contextualize the niqab, Ayyan Hirsi Ali
Dutch American born Somali
With her own black-veiled experience
Which I will never forget,
nor ever completely embrace.

Bibliomania, A Gentle Madness,

I knew there was a problem…
I have woken up in a pool drool,
Stuck to my face,
Couldn’t remember a word…
Worse yet,
I’ve woken up with books I didn’t recognize…
At least pages, I can’t remember seeing.
I have commitment issues too
– Been doing 3 or 4 at a time
– for years.

Being a bibliophile has challenged my relationships.
IT has challenged my faith – but made it stronger.
IT has challenged my values – but made me think longer.
IT has challenged my mind – which I hope to soon find…after this book

Help me, please, All of you. Before I must bid you adieu
Help me get through
A last few days of the term
So I can START
Reading again!

While it is true, there comes a time we must read something others have chosen There comes a time when we must drive by Chapters without feeling that we’re missing out.
There comes a time when we MUST feed the kids.
There comes a time when we must put the book down.
There comes a time when we must start living a life worth reading about.

I need your help!
The time has come, the term is done
Not to STOP reading
But to START!
Because I am a bibliophile who,
Thanks to school
– my recent addiction,
I’m a bibliophile who
– hasn’t read a book in months!!!

Speak Your Mind has been a series of speeches written for the second-year communications writing course.