When it started, it was innocent bibliophilia. My condition has worsened though, and I am well aware that I am gleefully suffering from bibliomania. I found this Japanese word, tsundoku, which pretty much describes my condition right now.
It’s not that I don’t ever read these books, it’s just that I buy them faster than I can read them. People come over and look at my shelves and have one of two responses: “Wow, I hope someday I have a room like this,” or “I am never, ever helping you move.”
Really, I don’t have a bedroom. I’ve got a library with a bed in it. Some of the shelves I double-line books so that I can fit twice as many books on a single level by lining up my Shakespeare and modernist American literature in front of the fantasy series I already have filling up the shelf.
The worst part is how impossible it is to keep them stacked up. Every time I turn around I’m running out of shelf space and thinking about how I need to run down to the thrift store and by another goofy particle board bookcase just so I don’t have to keep tomes stacked on the floor. At any given moment, my “to-read” pile is however many books I can fit on the tiny nightstand beside my bed. I’ve been reading a bunch of popular fiction for my discussion group (1000 Splendid Suns, the Hunger Games trilogy, No Country for Old Men…) and it’s fantastic, but I really miss my classics. There’s a reason I majored in English Literature, I absolutely love our language’s cannon.
Admittedly, I do have a few books I will never, ever get around to reading. I hate to own up to it, but those gorgeous gold-plated pages of Dr. Zhivago and The Last Days of Pompeii are there for pure show. I appreciate a beautifully crafted book, one that is bound to remind us that words and pages and stories are, indeed, a thing of great value.
I’ve just started The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo for my discussion group though, and I really ought to get back to that…