• aurianederudder

Book Porn

This piece was originally published at https://jeyranmain.com/2021/07/19/book-porn-by-auriane-de-rudder/


You guys, I think I’ve developed…a problem.


It started out, as these things often do, innocently. I was young, in middle school, and didn’t fit in. My hormones were surging and my awkward stage was in full swing. I watched other girls socialize at recess and flirt with boys our age,


but that wasn’t for me. Instead, I found an escape. I formed a secret. I entered a world that was intimate and exciting, thrilling and mysterious.

My new passion took me to strange places as it developed over the years. At first, I was only using this new drug, this fabulous opiate, once or twice a week. But as I got older, it got more intense. Once a week became once a day, and then twice, sometimes more. I was steeling myself away to get a hit, every chance I got. My behavior became downright anti-social. Acquaintances and family members worried about me and spoke in hushed tones when I walked by. There was that strange girl. The girl addicted to…Books.


But I was okay with being the literary weirdo in school. I didn’t mind burying my nose in a book while other teens joined competitive cheerleading or the debate team. My love of literature carried me well through my adolescence, through college and even into my first few adult cracks at a career. I was getting by. But ask any addict. We are all ‘getting by’ at some point in our addiction. And something will push us over the edge. I’ll bet you can guess what that push was…For history’s sake I’ll recap it. Forgive me, contemporary readers.


In March of 2020, my world—and the world of so many others, shut down. A worldwide pandemic swept through the streets of our cities and towns, and we watched, some shocked into action, others into numbness, as our way of life changed overnight. We lost friends and family members, jobs, and our collective sanity. Americans struggled politically, smack dab in the middle of making the wrong kind of history. People found themselves stuck at home, with only their vices to soothe them. Some people ate. Some people drank. Some people used drugs, or sex…But me? For a while, I lost my mind. My anxiety and fear crippled me.


Then, my old literary coping mechanism turned on. Hard.



Guys, I don't only read my own books. I just don't have pics of me reading regularly, cuz I'm, like, READING.


I started devouring books on my bookshelf. I tore through them, sometimes finishing master works in only a day or two. I re-read my all-time favorites; Portnoy’s Complaint, Less Than Zero, the entire works of Cookie Mueller. I read classics that seemed fitting including Love in the Time of Cholera, The Color Purple and the entire People’s History of the United States. The more I read, the more I wanted to read. Soon, the act of reading just wasn’t enough. I had finished every title on my bookshelf. The library, like everything else, was closed. I needed more. Fortunately, technology was on my side.


I dove into the internet book scene. I joined not one but four online book clubs. I even formed one of my own with my pre-pandemic/real-life friends. We couldn’t see each other in person, but we could read together.


I began following Bookstagrammers out the wazoo. I drooled over artful shots on the pages of @bookish.ashton and the travel pics provided by @hopelessbooklover_. I chuckled at some of the punny-er pages like @resting_bookface and dove into the diverse recommendations from @shellysbookcorner. I often got lost in the infinite scroll, eyeing a never-ending stack of books, artfully curated. And while I knew that laying in bed, scrolling on Instagram wasn’t doing me any favors, what else was there to do? Follow a Kardashian and develop body image issues? Nope.


@Hopelessbooklover_ doing what she does best!


This still wasn’t enough. I fired up my Kindle and signed up for Libby, a free book borrowing app that links you to your local library’s online collection. I got recruited into a Facebook group called The Bitchy Bookworms and, although totally not my style, started audio-booking and Kindle-ing trashy thrillers the group recommended. But wait…there’s more!


I found comfort in podcasts, too. I loved riding my bike, or going on my daily walk and listening to true crime and conspiracy theories on Webcrawlers or diving into the art of stage-story telling provided by The Moth. I enjoyed listening to ghost stories with Roz Drezfalez on the Ghosted! Podcast and got new reading recs from On the Road with Penguin Classics.



I still had too much time, and too much nervous energy on my hands. Watching TV didn’t do it for me like books did. But I was reading, scrolling, listening, sharing and posting as much as I could. I needed a new high, a better fix. I didn’t just want to immerse myself in other people’s stories anymore. I decided to write my own.


I began by editing together a collection of stories I had been working on for years. I used every extra minute of my unemployed days and nights to pull my first book together. I mocked up everything, typeset it all, self-edited, self-critiqued, wrote and rewrote it too many times to count. I even photographed myself for the cover of the book, in my bathtub. I perched an old lamp on the back of my toilet to properly light the scene.


I reached out to all the people I had met through my obsession with books and informed them that I was self-publishing my own. Ironically, I had more friends and literary contacts than ever. Had my addiction come full circle? Wait, was being the weird, story-obsessed girl a good thing? I set a release date and my first book, Rebound, was born.




Once I released Rebound, I couldn’t stop. My friends, new and old, responded with excitement, love and praise for my work. I immediately got to work on a second book, How to Kill Your Chihuahua, and in the beginning of 2021, published my most recent collection of stories. I even started my own story-telling podcast, named jokingly after said collection, titled Not Literary.





So, yeah. You could definitely call me a Lit-Junkie. I am obsessed with all things books and all things book-adjacent. I always have been. I want to see it, touch it, hear it and almost taste it. But something that has changed is my need to use my drug of choice in a vacuum. Story-telling, as it turns out, brings people together. Sharing my passion for books through ever-evolving technology makes me feel connected, not isolated. Not at all. And the high I get from connecting with people through writing? I’ve never been higher.



You can find Auriane de Rudder’s stories, books and podcast at Aurianederudder.com or follow her on social media @aurianederudder. The author will be touring the U.S. with Not Literary the book and podcast in October of 2021.

4 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All