Monday, June 15, 2009

Should We Be Promoting Bookaholism?

The Guardian asks the question. What's your answer?

10 Comments:

At 5:02 PM, Blogger Diane Vogel Ferri said...

Yes, it should be promoted through warnings that they will someday be obsolete! When I look around the rooms of my house I would have to say I have the disorder as well.

 
At 11:26 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

If you must have a disorder, Diane, that's the one to have.

 
At 8:22 AM, Blogger Art Durkee said...

There are worse addictions.

Speaking as an admitted bibliomane, that is.

Really, I can control myself. I only go to Goodwill, my favorite book store a few times a week, and I only ever bring home two or three books at a time. Well, except on those rare days when I find more than that. . . . Really, it's not a problem.

 
At 8:33 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Bibliomane. Now there's a new word I didn't know. Bibliophile is the word one would normally associate with this. Anyway, that's a good idea, going to Goodwill. My problem is that library books just don't tend to cut it, because any book that's worth reading seems to be worth marking up in the good parts, for later use or rereading. And of course you can't do that with borrowed books. So Goodwill is a great alternative, as are the used booksales that you'll find at various times in most cities. You just have to make sure to get there early.

 
At 12:44 PM, Blogger Art Durkee said...

Oh no, bibliophilia is too weak a word to contain bibliomania. I once read a profile of Isaac bashevis Singer, a genuine bibliomane. His entire flat was stacked to the ceiling with books. There were even a few in the refrigerator, because there was nowhere else to put them. His long-suffering wife drew the line at putting books in the freezer.

Trust me, when your house's foundation and flooring starts to be affected by the number of books in your rooms, THEN can you call yourself a bibliomane. I'm not quite there yet, but I've heard tell.

The key word of course is "mania."

I do use the local library, but most often for audiobooks and also the occasional reference book I don't need to own, just xerox a few pages from, to learn something.

Used book stores and Goodwill have been having this love triangle for a very long time.

 
At 12:53 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

This brings to mind a story I clipped out of the paper some years ago, and still recall with a guilty chuckle. It seems an elderly woman who lived alone and whose apartment was stuffed from floor to ceiling with her newspapers, books and magazines (as I recall, she referred to it as her research area) was found expired, with her reading material the possible culprit. Can you imagine dying in an avalanche of your own reading materials? Now that's real reading mania.

 
At 10:41 AM, Anonymous Donna said...

John!

I'm reading "The Lay of the Land"...You were right! I'm LOVVVINNG it. What a wry and observant author....I'm cracking up over Mike Mahoney, the Tibetan man in the camel-haired jacket. Thanks, thanks, thanks, for calling this gem to my attention.

 
At 1:53 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Glad you're enjoying it Donna. I should have added that Richard Ford's Lay of the Land is actually the third in a series of books that follows the character, Frank Bascomb, through the stages of his life. I hope you eventually go back and read the earlier installments, especially "The Sportswriter." I'm not the only one who compares these books to Updike's Rabbit series, for sheer narrative sweep, great writing, and psychological acuity. Ford is just an awe-inspiring writer.

 
At 5:02 PM, Blogger bcwaller said...

Speaking of bibliomania: One of the perks of my job is advanced reader copies and just happily blazed through "The Man Who Loved Books Too Much," a true crime romp very much in the vein of "The Orchid Thief" about one of the cleverest book thieves of the last decade. Lots of great insights along the way in the story about the power and prestige of books and libraries, about the nature of knowledge and self-knowledge. It's coming out officially in September.

 
At 5:05 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Thanks for that interesting glimpse of what sounds like an interesting book, Britta, and lovely to have you as a first-time commenter. I hadn't ever heard of it. But of course we know the "Orchid Thief" around her only too well, since its author, New Yorker staff writer Susan Orlean, is a native Clevelander. Okay, so in the interests of full disclosures, we never read the book, but did see the movie.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home