It is not often that ProfessorRoush steps away from his libertarian politics and asks for action by the authorities-that-be, but someone really needs to step in and close down Half-Price Books before this vile, crack-den masquerading as a commercial enterprise drags me deeper into garden book addiction and debt.
We should form a club of garden book addicts, calling it Garden Bookoholics Anonymous or something similar, with our own twelve-step program. I'm already a member of Garden Statueholics Anonymous, so I'm already halfway down that path anyway. I've always enjoyed reading garden-related literature, particularly essay-type pieces based on experience, but whenever I cross over the threshold of Half-Price Books, I seem to fall into an abyss, wild-eyed and avid, with no evident self-restraint or shame. Take last week for example. I was on an innocent visit to my parent's home and wasting time while my wife shopped, when I happened across this local book-pusher's establishment. On the feeble justification that I only had a few minutes and wasn't likely to buy anything, I stepped inside. In hindsight, I now recognize that such excuses are common among addicts; "I only tried the Burgundy to see if it differed from the Boone's Farm," or "I only stepped inside the strip joint to see what it was like," are identical in intent, if not in prose.
In five minutes I walked out with 6 hard-back books, all purchased at "a bargain," and all irresistible to a garden-book collector. How could I deny that I needed Gardening With Grasses by Piet Oudolf himself? How to abstain from the pleasures of Suzy Bale's The Garden in Winter? Peter Loewer is a well-known garden author and I couldn't forgo Thoreau's Garden, could I? Growing Roses Organically just spoke directly to my rose-nut soul and I listened. A trip to another Half-Price Books addict den two days later yielded another four books. Jefferson's Garden by Loewer was another classic. Bizarre Botanicals was essential in case I ever wanted to grow a Venus Flytrap or some other tropical monstrosity. McNaughton's Lavender, The Grower's Guide had some beautiful pictures that might help me identify the varieties in my presently-blooming lavender bed.
As others with similar addiction know, I've previously reported cataloguing my garden books collection on a nifty little phone app, and it came in handy on my recent binge, preventing me from buying books I already own. To reveal the depths of my depravity, I will note here that my collection now includes 486 gardening-related books. Yes, I know that one is not supposed to reveal the extent of one's collectibles on the Internet in case enterprising thieves are lurking, but I feel there is little danger that someone will break in to steal my garden book collection. Anyone who wants the collection for their own use deserves only my sympathy and pity, and, for money-motivated thieves, the whole collection is probably worth about $12.78 if sold to a second-hand book store.
Gardening bibliophiles with a similar addiction, please repeat after me. "I admit that I am powerless against the lure of books by Sydney Eddison and Henry Mitchell and Sara Stein." "I hope to believe that a Power greater than myself can restore sanity (if not God, at least a forceful spouse might intervene)." "I will continue to take inventory and promptly admit when I've bought a bad book." Oops, that last one may not help. Curses, a pox on Half-Price Books! I don't really want to stop. Can it really be that terrible if my garden book addition keeps me away from the Devil's Brew and out of strip clubs?