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Bibliophilia Gone Mad

Help!!! What should I do?

I literally am ‘drowning in a sea of books’ and although I can’t think of a better way to go, it’s just getting to be a nightmare for everyone else around me, AKA, my long suffering husband.

Whilst he shares my love of books and quite often stops to peruse my latest additions, his sense of practicality is kicking in big time, so I have some tough decisions to make.

I have every excuse going, as to why the situation isn’t really that bad, but let’s face it, I think I am almost approaching the stage of  Bibliomania, Bibliophile just doesn’t seem a strong enough:-

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“The term bibliophile can also be applied to one who has an obsessive fondeness for books, perhaps amounting to  bibliomania. This is most often seen in compulsive hoarders identifiable by the fact that the number of unread books in their possession is continually increasing relative to the total number of books they possess; and read.  Extreme bibliophilia may amount to a diagnosed psychological condition.”

I only ever read a book once, then it is passed on or recycled, but seldom destroyed. The trouble is that all the friends and family I pass books on to, give me others in exchange, so I am back square one.

Take yesterday…… As my elderly father, being a full time carer, is unable to get out for any length of time, I usually amass a pile of his favourite detective/crime thrillers, to take for him when we visit. My other half is okay with this, because he knows that, that particular pile will be leaving the house at a defined point in time. The problem comes when my father has read the last supply he received and swaps them for my latest selection, when we see him, as he doesn’t have anyone else to pass them on to. I then come home, with as many books as I left with, that I know I will also enjoy  and that I can’t bring myself to part with until I have read them.

Then there are all the non-fiction books that stand and lean in drunken piles around the place, that I have convinced myself will sell fantastically well on my small Amazon Marketplace shop.    https://www.amazon.co.uk/shops/inspire_books1 They are all selcted with great care, for both their interesting content and their first class condition, nothing dirty or damaged ever makes it’s way into the system. These books, I will always browse through before listing them for sale and have probably, sub-consciously, amassed a whole load of interesting information, that I never would have known before. In fact, in my defense, I have to say that ‘hubbie’ probably browses as much as I do. The trouble is, I have amassed far more books than I will ever sell and even if I had the time to list them all for sale, I have no realistic way of storing them after listing, so that they do not get damaged before shipping. How you store a book before listing, is much different to the kid glove treatment it gets, when it’s condition has been carefully decribed to its potential new owner.

My listed inventory rests carefully protected in archive boxes, waiting their turn for retrieval and shipping, where they will hopefully be returned to bookshelves and coveted, in a less hectic environment, by their new owners.

So there all my back up stock sits, every shape, size and subject matter known to mankind. Bookshelves in almost every room, with books lined up neatly, but still two or three rows deep. Then, hidden away in one room, that is never opened to anyone but us, piles that lean precariously, propped up by their neighbour, lest they should topple. Handled carefully, always watchful of the avalanche that may ensue if the wrong one is selected. My desk and chair neatly fitting into the smallest possible space amongst them, always hoping that I do not need to turn around in the chair, or need to retrieve a fallen object from the floor.

Now, can you see my predicament? My stock for sale is something that I could solve, if I had the willpower to stop looking for more potential ‘best sellers’, list all the stock I have around the place and only keep an  inventory that I can store and access sensibly. That may be possible to do with a huge amount of willpower, but finding the time to read all my fiction treasures, or cull the stock down to my absolute favourites, is another matter.

I really do need the services of a ‘book fairy’, who will come in whilst I sleep and return everything to normality, or even better, magically transport us to a much larger property, where my collection will be able to spread with ease. No, I know that isn’t the answer, so finding that day when I feel strong enough to tackle the problem, is fast approaching. Then look out, because someone, somewhere, may be getting an unwanted problem, as I know that they will all have to be found homes for, destruction is not an option!!!

Oh for the day when we can achieve immortality, but I guess by then, we won’t need books, as all the information known to mankind will have already been implanted into us and life just won’t have the same appeal, as the look, smell and feel of a good book…..

Written by
Yvonne

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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6 comments
  • Yvonne, I thought I was an extreme case until I read your blog. I’m afraid that you have a far more severe case than I. I may use your blog to point out to my family that my case is “mild” by comparison! Enjoy……………………!

  • Hi Chris,

    I was just wondering how many of my treasured volumes I could rely upon you to give a loving home to, come the day of reckoning?…..

  • Yvonne,

    Believe me, you don’t want a larger house. I know from experience that you will end up spending any spare cash (after books!) on bookshelves and within 2 months of arriving there, your books will have spread across the whole house again and you are in the same position.
    I myself have often wished for an old fashioned library with high ceilings to accommodate loads of shelving and a ladder – or even a ‘gallery’ – for ease of access. I can just see myself in front of a roaring fire in the middle of winter reading all these books. Only problem is, I’d probably never leave the house!

    • Hi Hayley,

      They do say that the more space you have to fill, the more possessions you accumulate to fill it with.
      I have only added a couple more volumes to the mountain this week, but I know that what you say, is oh so true and it wouldn’t take much persuading for me to lapse and hit all the charity shops again.
      I could still go with the library though, then, like yourself, I may never leave the house, only for ‘fresh supplies’ … of books, of course!

  • Yvonne – send as many as you like, I’ll just tell my husband he will have to move out (not really)!!
    We have “Bibliomania cubed” in our house, since both of my daughters are very bookish. but none of us read the same genres. Now, we are slowly converting my husband Stuart; he only used to read factual books and biographies, but recently he has picked up 2 spy novels from the piles! So I may get away with ever increasing mountains of books after all. Plus, we have just given two large piles of children’s books to the local school.
    I have been meaning to get the hoover to the many bookcases before any of us develop athsma with the dust they are collecting!
    A further constraint on free space is Stuart’s collection of WW2 model aeroplanes/fighters.
    Soon there will be no room for us!

  • Hi Chris,

    And you think I’m worse than you?

    My husband Dave, only reads Factual books; partly because he just likes to dip in and out of a book and not have to read it from cover to cover, partly because he is of the opinion that reading fiction is a waste of time when you could be learning some useful facts.

    I quite often have to point out to him, that most fiction books come with quite a lot of subject research and I am quite smug when I can quote a useful snippet of information, which he didn’t know, if we are having a conversation.

    I just can’t imagine a life without books, although as you point out, they can become quite a health hazard, with all the dust they seem to accumulate, although not as much dust as model aeroplanes, I’m sure!

Written by Yvonne

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