While I was at Jessica’s over Thanksgiving, we watched an Oprah she had taped. It was one of the the shows which dealt with a woman who had become a hoarder. People who hoard to the extent that woman did have a compulsive disorder. Like many disorders, hoarding is a fairly harmless tendency that many of us have that has gone wild in the hoarder. Jessica and I got to talking about what we tend to hang on to or acquire beyond what we need. I confessed that with me, it is books.
I also love to acquire books. The earliest presents I remember getting were those “Little Golden Books” that used to cost a nickle or a dime. Instead of badgering my mother for candy or toys when we went to the store, I would bargain for a Little Golden Book. I was pretty good at it and eventually, I had a whole shelf full.
I have moved many times and on each of those moves I have packed and hauled boxes and boxes of books. I think I do this in part because my books make me feel secure and at home. I also think they represent a kind of wealth to me, a wealth of knowledge. My books are not rare volumns and are not intrinsicly valuable, bit they are mine and comfort me.
Periodicially, I cull my shelves and thin out those books which I am sure I will never read again or read for the first time. I ususally give the culls to my local library of which I am a very loyal and frequent patron for their annual “Friends of the Library” sale.
My hoarding tendency is stocking up on even more books before I have read the one’s I already have. I do this constantly. Then, to make matters worse so that I fall even further behind in reading what I already have, I go to the library and check out even more books to read.
If I am not content with what my local libraries have on their shelves, I order more through interlibrary loan. The two libraries I use, the local library and the university library, have made it only a matter of a few clicks and keystrokes for me to access millions of volumns for free.
I am always on the lookout for new authors and new books. I read several blogs dealing with books. Nancy Pearl’s Book Lust and Nonfiction Readers are just two of them. Before the internet, I used to read Booklist, the ALA publication about new books, regularly in order to make lists of books I wanted to read. I guess the list making is another manifestation of my own book lust.
I am trying to cut back. I have put myself on book probation. I cannot buy any more books for myself until I have read 10 of the books I already have and have not read. One of the rules of this probation is that I can use the library. This is not meant to be a cruel punishment, rather it is just to get me out of the habit of acquiring more books than I have time to read.
I plan on keeping track of what I have read by making a list for this blog. I also plan on celebrating when I finish reading the ten books by buying myself a present. A book.