Buy you books and buy you books and what do you do? You eat them!

13 01 2013

No, I don’t suffer from bibliophagy, let me be clear on that.  I just remember that rhyme as being one my father used to always say when I would ask for him to buy me books as a child.  I’ve always loved books!

I spent a good bit of time yesterday helping my daughter sort through her shelves of books for what books I would be willing to allow her to get rid of.  Even in reading that sentence, I feel slightly guilty of being overbearing.  But books are things of which I am so very fond and the idea of throwing any away is just so difficult to fathom.

She knows this about me and had prepared arguments for each book she was ready to part with and as I pulled them from her pile, she would quickly announce how it had inappropriate parts or such.  She had no arguments for the classics – Ovid’s Metamorphosis or Shakespeare’s Midsummer’s Night Dream, except to say she’d read them once and cared not to read them again.  Back on the shelf they went, which she seemed to expect.  And there was one book, deemed a classic by the sleeves notes, Watership Downs.  Something I’d purchased at some point for fourteen dollars and neither of us had any idea about it.  As a result, I spent half of the evening reading it.

This morning I sit wondering, why am I this way?  I’ve always been this way, it’s true.  But the why aspect eludes me.  I can remember even in second grade having an expansive library of Judy Blume books, Nancy Drew books, Bobbsey Twins books alongside Little Golden books and I can recall my mother arguing the need to get rid of the old, childish books to make room and that instead I chose to rid myself of toys for space.  I had the books catalogued and when the school librarian made the fatal mistake of teaching me the Dewey decimal system when I began to aide her in the library – so too ordered were my books at home.

It isn’t the first time I’ve questioned myself or my rationale.  A few months ago I actually overcame this urge as I was going through old boxes of books…

Burn the books

When I moved from Illinois to North Carolina in 2002, I packed all of my books into Rubbermaid tubs and my ex joked with me, as helped me load the UHaul, that next time he dated a woman he would look for an illiterate one.  No fewer than twenty tubs were packed with books, each weighing near to a hundred pounds, if not more.  I finally brought myself to weed through the containers and I came across one with nothing but computer related books:  DOS for Dummies, PCs for Dummies, Lotus Notes and Domino 4.6, HTML 3.2, HTML 4.0, and so forth.  Outdated by more than a decade, most published in the 1990s.  And as I began packing them back into the container, I paused.  I made the leap and grabbed a trash can to put them into.  And I took them back out.  A solemn goodbye of sorts, I took a picture of them all.  And then I put them back in and told my husband, take the trash can away before I could change my mind.  To the bonfire they went, and my heart was heavy.


Technology guide books written on decade plus old technology and here I was feeling the need to go rescue them from the flames.

What is wrong with me?!

And even still, I’ve too many books to count or catalogue or even put in our home.  As we plan the building of our home, we’ve dedicated a room on the floor plans to my library.  The sad thing is that I won’t likely ever need to reference them or read them, but there is no way I can even fathom ridding myself of them.  These are books I have saved from used book sales at libraries or book store closings, some are antique and more than 100 years old, others are just books to get me through a long road trip.

But these are all just excuses.  Excuses that keep me stuck in this position that I’m in.  I didn’t really anticipate finding an answer when I began blogging this morning, so it’s no surprise to me that I am sitting here create reasons for my weakness and gaining no ground as to why I am plaqued with it.

And I’m not alone!  There’s a diagnostic name for my hoarding – bibliomania.  And no known cure.  Go figure!




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