Voices from the Streets: A Book Addiction

Instead of writing a novel today, I have decided to write to you. Sorry it took me so long to respond, but I am basically out of sorts. The emotional windmill has taken me for quite a spin and I don’t know if it’s wind-driven or driven by the demons in my mind.

Yes, I have finally gone insane. When I take off my sunglasses, I give the impression of a vast emptiness, as if one was peering into a black hole in space, a dark star. Was that a reference to David Bowie? It might well be. I feel like I fled town safely with everything intact but my mind. I am no longer looking over my shoulders; the ghosts of the past remain in the past, but the ghosts of the stories in my head are closing in.

I guess that’s what happens when one reaches the age of 70 years and develops a full-blown book addiction. Have you ever known something but refused to acknowledge it at the same time? I guess some people call that denial. The heart is a many-tiered bastion of twist. Common sense is eliminated almost immediately upon the first beat, and then it’s just blood and fire. Do you have any inkling of what I mean?

When I feel like using, dope that is, I buy a book instead to dispel the impulse. I have quite a collection, and they just keep getting better. I just finished reading Driven by Kelley Armstrong, about a pack of American werewolves. It’s a fantastic read.

Elena Michaels is the alpha of the pack; her husband Clayton Danvers is the beta, the enforcer of the pack rules. Katie and Logan are their children, about ten years old but already able to change at will into werewolves. It’s a love story with bloodshed. But what romance doesn’t have a bit of bloodshed, even if it’s emotional spilling? The pack rules the North American area. If a werewolf doesn’t belong to a pack, they call him a mutt. Most werewolves are males; there are very few female werewolves.

In Driven, Curtis Cain, who is from a clan of mutts, calls on the pack for help. Supernatural hunters, one of whom is a werewolf, are hunting the mutts, killing them and taking their pelts. Elena Michaels, as the alpha of the pack, has to decide on the right thing to do in the situation.

Even though the mutts are not too nice, and not too bright either, the pack can’t have people killing werewolves in their territory. Malcolm, a new pack member, was a big bad wolf for many years because he killed viciously and indiscriminately. He doesn’t think they should bother with them, after all, they’re only mutts. But he has to learn that as a member of the pack, he has to follow orders or die. So the plot thickens and the hunt is on.

The author, Kelley Armstrong, is a prolific writer. Not on the level of Stephen King, but she has written many books about her world of werewolves and other supernatural beings. Most of these books are put out by the Subterranean Press, which you can find on the Internet. I own five of the werewolf series and love every one of them.

Another interesting book I’ve just finished is called The Girl With All The Gifts by M. R. Carey. This book is dystopian in nature; the world, as we know it, has ended, and a fungus has been let loose on the world. Over 95% of humanity has been infected. The book tells the story of those who have not been infected and how they treat those who have been infected, especially the children.

One special child is a girl named Melanie who, even though she’s infected, acts as if she’s not. How do the infected act? You’ll have to read it to find out. Let’s just say you wouldn’t want to get bitten by one. This book is also in the process of being made into a movie.

All these books have saved me from a fate worse than death. Instead of scars from needle tracks, I have a beautiful set of valuable books and a head full of stories. I can always sell books if I choose to, but needle tracks have no resale value. A book addiction is much healthier than being addicted to drugs, but it’s an addiction just the same. Wouldn’t you agree?

Marc D. Goldfinger is a member of the board of directors of the Homeless Empowerment Project, which publishes Spare Change news. Formerly homeless, he serves as the paper's poetry editor.

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