There's probably a name for people who have a fear of books, but I don't know what it is. I just know I suffer from it to a degree. I'm always afraid I'll open a book and not understand a single word. I'm afraid of being lost and feeling stupid. I wish I knew where this fear came from. Maybe it's from some homework/school trauma I've blocked out. I grew up never reading books for pleasure because I didn't want to feel like a dumb little alien in a world of big words I couldn't understand. I stuck mostly to Mad magazine and cartoon anthologies. Horror fiction of the 70's and 80's helped me make friends with books again because I still loved a good scare and wasn't allowed to watch scary movies. Jay Anson's The Amityville Horror and all of Stephen King's early work helped me realize I wasn't stupid or illiterate after all. Still -- the fear has never completely left me.
I dread starting new books even though I know there's a good chance I'll love them once I get into them. Perhaps this is another reason I'm an avid re-reader. There are a handful of novels I've reread twenty times and Just in Case is one of them. I picked it up from a discount rack at Walden's and bought it mainly because it has a greyhound on the cover and because of the blurb describing it as a 'modern day Catcher in the Rye'. It's a beautiful, weird and genius piece of fiction that I can't recommend highly enough. You can probably find it pretty cheap online. Please try and get your very own copy and then never let it go.