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I have too many books. Way too many.

I counted them over the weekend: 112. As I said, way too many.

Many fall into multiple-book series: the Harry Potter books, the Dresden Files, Sandman Slim, Agent Pendergast series. Oh, and all of Stephen King's books — in hardback.

I'm going to read all of them. Most for a second time. It's why I've kept the series. I loved them the first time and want to re-enjoy them a second. My memory is so spotty, though, that reading them a second time is sometimes like reading them for the first.

I've loved books since my age was in the single digits. It started with Dr. Seuss. His "On Beyond Zebra!" is still one of my favorite books of all time (never really liked "The Cat in the Hat," not a fan of chaos). I remember reading "The Mouse and the Motorcycle" when I was about 8. The minute I finished it, I went right back to the start and read it again.

When I was about 12, I read the original "Dracula." It's still one of the most horrifying novels I've ever read. It sent me spiraling down a black hole into more horror, more science fiction, more fantasy. H.P. Lovecraft. Harlan Ellison. J.R.R. Tolkien. Those aren't the only genres I read, of course, but they constitute the majority.

I feel somewhat lost if I'm not reading a book. I usually have about three going at one time. One is on the nightstand next to my bed. One is downstairs next to "my chair." The last is in my locker at the YMCA, read when I'm exercising on the reclining bike.

I have a ton of TV shows recorded and on my wish list for Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime, but I find myself picking up a book more often than turning on the TV.

On Friday, for instance, I started reading "John Dies at the End," a crazy mishmash that's terrifying in some parts and laugh-out-loud funny in others. It's more than 400 pages and I finished it on Saturday night. One of those — clichecoming — can't-put-it-down books.

Even with the 100-plus books on my shelves, I still have the urge to run to McKay's Used Books most weekends. "Oh, there's this book that I want to find. I've heard it was good." Or, "I just need this book to complete this series."

At this point, though, I generally don't keep the books once I've read them, even the ones I've kept so I can reread them. I figure twice around the block is enough.

Well, maybe three times if the book is good enough.

some text Shawn Ryan

Contact Shawn Ryan at mshawnryan@gmail.com.

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