For years (just as I promised at my Baptist ordination) never a near-petrol hiccup has passed my lips. Books, not booze, are my addiction. I am hopelessly hooked—I cannot live without books.

How serious is my affliction?

Actually, my dependency is much bigger than books—it is print of any kind. Magazines interrupt me wherever they intersect my line of vision. As a professional minister, I have tried to keep abreast of the theological journals relating to the ministry. Naturally, therefore, I read things like Bibliotheca Sacra, but I cannot stop with things that relate. While waiting in a dentist’s office, I read things like Orthodontia Today or The Molar and Cavity Journal. Waiting for an oil change, I read Pipeline Perspectives. In a hobby shop, I read three pages of Plastercraft, Vol. III, No. 32, while waiting for a gum-chewing clerk who doesn’t even suspect Bibliotheca Sacra.

But books tempt me most. They call to me like mating seals while I, in zombie advance, pick them up and read. I cry weakly against them, yet I read until my eyes bleed.

Here is my real problem: How can I get anything done while there is one unread book in the house crying, “Read me! Read me!”? I cannot make peace with any unread book. A new book in my home is a psychotic guest that rises against my addiction. Knowing I am weak, it sneers at my lack of self-control. When I try to get away from it, it woos me, flirtatiously flipping its pages if I try the New York Times acrostic or television’s “MacNeil-Lehrer Report.”

No book ever worries that it might contain a subject that doesn’t interest me—all subjects interest me. For instance, I once read a book on Ferris wheels. Of course, I have no real interest in these nauseating vertical spinners. But a friend ...

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