Planet Bibliophilia

137_3783 "She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain." — Louisa May Alcott

Thursday and Susan Sarah here…

We just had our downstairs floors done, changed from blah-beige carpeting to golden hardwood, and they are bee-yoo-ti-ful. And we had to move practically everything out of those rooms. Much of it ended up in the garage (and some of it is still there).

We also had to deal with all the books in the living room, several tall bookcases crammed full. My husband, a patient and uncomplaining soul, has tolerated my book addiction for many years; he’s also tall and strong–handy qualities for the husband of a book addict. Now and then we move the books and bookcases around for various and sundry reasons: I might be painting walls or bookcases, or I might shift these research books downstairs and those upstairs; or I might, and regularly do, change my mind about the furniture arrangements. When you have a house full of books and bookcases, as well as a big family, the function and status of the rooms changes now and then (one of my kids has his own place now, so that turf recently came up for grabs, and a switcheroo took place)–and so the books sometimes get moved, shifted, reorganized. There’s a lot of responsibility (and physical hassle) in owning and maintaining tons of books.

A room without books is like a body without a soul. — Cicero 

Once the floors were in (gorgeous!), the rooms looked huge with all those books gone, and only simple furniture in them. Spacious, clean, lovely, and after a few days of that…somehow empty. The stories, the history, the word-pictures, the thoughts, the stimulating ideas, the patterns of shape and color, the reassuring smell, look, and cozy comfort of that surrounding of books was gone. And I missed it like a security blanket.

For a week I fielded comments from well-meaning, but not bibliophilic, family members. "Why do you keep all those books anyway?" "Now that you have them in the garage, you can go through them and get rid of most of them." Why keep them?! What, get RID of most of them?!  Clearly they don’t live on the same planet I do, Planet Bibliophilia.Abbotsford_library

Why DO I keep all these books? It’s not easy to answer, or fathom. It’s like an instinctive thing. I have to have books around me. We resonate, books and I, and I don’t feel quite right without full bookcases somewhere nearby.

I cannot live without books. – Thomas Jefferson

OK, even I can admit I can live without a lot of these books. I haven’t cracked open some of those pages in years. Some I’ve never read but fully intend to do so. I’m not a hoarder or a packrat in other areas of my life, I don’t get overly attached to things and I can let go of other Stuff. Books are my weakness.

From time to time I glean through the titles and give boxes and boxes away to the local library. But when I sit down to glean or reorganize, hours later I might have a teeny stack of books I can live without, and a bigger stack of books I can’t part with, and a big stack of books to add to the TBR pile, because I forgot I had that one, or really want to read this one again, or always meant to read that one. I can get excited just discovering a book on my shelves that I had forgotten was there.

What is it about the books? There are several aspects to the craving and the compulsion — it’s a complex thing, this bibliophilic syndrome. There is something addictive in the smell and look and feel of books. Is there a substance in paper and binding glue that produces endorphins in certain people?  *g*
Maybe it’s the stimulation of constant flows of ideas and images in the minds of cerebral types, especially creative, imaginative cerebral types. Stories and good storytelling spark the mind, inspire, uplift, can make us better, more thoughtful, more interesting folk than maybe we were without the books we’ve read (that is, if we are among The Susceptible). For me, it’s not just fiction–I find history and research not only fascinating in themselves, but also great vehicles for stimulating ideas for my own stories.

So what is it about book lust? A lot of us share the affliction, and we understand it in others. Are your own rooms jampacked with books and bookcases? Do you crave, hoard, and drool over books, as well as read them?  Do you wander into bookstores and get lost there, do you lose track of time and end up buying books when you only meant to look?  Do you constantly read three or four, or seven books at once? Why do you think we, the book-cravers and biblio-addicts, are so ‘flicted?

"So there you have it, a lifetime of first smelling the books, they all smell so wonderful, reading the books, loving the books, and remembering the books." — Ray Bradbury

Keepingkate250 Susan Sarah

33 thoughts on “Planet Bibliophilia”

  1. I have the book addiction bad (heck, I have a graduate degree in Book Arts, LOL!).
    My house is overflowing with books. Bookshelves in every room but the bathroom (and it wasn’t for the steam I’d have them in there, too). I don’t trust people with no books in their homes. It’s one of the things that frequently disturbs me about the people on all those reality tv shows where they decorate: NO BOOKS. Where are these people’s books? I’ve only seen one house, ever, that had books, and the designer declared them a problem and banished them. Uh . . . that’s nice, but now the room doesn’t function for the bibliophile owner. Good job.

    Reply
  2. I have the book addiction bad (heck, I have a graduate degree in Book Arts, LOL!).
    My house is overflowing with books. Bookshelves in every room but the bathroom (and it wasn’t for the steam I’d have them in there, too). I don’t trust people with no books in their homes. It’s one of the things that frequently disturbs me about the people on all those reality tv shows where they decorate: NO BOOKS. Where are these people’s books? I’ve only seen one house, ever, that had books, and the designer declared them a problem and banished them. Uh . . . that’s nice, but now the room doesn’t function for the bibliophile owner. Good job.

    Reply
  3. I have the book addiction bad (heck, I have a graduate degree in Book Arts, LOL!).
    My house is overflowing with books. Bookshelves in every room but the bathroom (and it wasn’t for the steam I’d have them in there, too). I don’t trust people with no books in their homes. It’s one of the things that frequently disturbs me about the people on all those reality tv shows where they decorate: NO BOOKS. Where are these people’s books? I’ve only seen one house, ever, that had books, and the designer declared them a problem and banished them. Uh . . . that’s nice, but now the room doesn’t function for the bibliophile owner. Good job.

    Reply
  4. “Do you wander into bookstores and get lost there, do you lose track of time and end up buying books when you only meant to look?”
    Oh yes. If I say I’m going to the library, my husband won’t start wondering where I am until after closing time. There was one time, fairly early on in our marriage, when he’d rung my parents, and was about to ring the police, because I hadn’t come home and it was getting very late. I’d found a bookshop that was still open. After that I promised I’d be more careful and I don’t go into bookshops unless I know I’ve got plenty of time to spare.

    Reply
  5. “Do you wander into bookstores and get lost there, do you lose track of time and end up buying books when you only meant to look?”
    Oh yes. If I say I’m going to the library, my husband won’t start wondering where I am until after closing time. There was one time, fairly early on in our marriage, when he’d rung my parents, and was about to ring the police, because I hadn’t come home and it was getting very late. I’d found a bookshop that was still open. After that I promised I’d be more careful and I don’t go into bookshops unless I know I’ve got plenty of time to spare.

    Reply
  6. “Do you wander into bookstores and get lost there, do you lose track of time and end up buying books when you only meant to look?”
    Oh yes. If I say I’m going to the library, my husband won’t start wondering where I am until after closing time. There was one time, fairly early on in our marriage, when he’d rung my parents, and was about to ring the police, because I hadn’t come home and it was getting very late. I’d found a bookshop that was still open. After that I promised I’d be more careful and I don’t go into bookshops unless I know I’ve got plenty of time to spare.

    Reply
  7. Case in point, I just got turned on to Hamilton Books (HUGE THANKS to the wonderful Emily Hendrickson!) and I went on a positive orgy of book buying there. I have 23 books coming!!!
    And just last night I received my copy of “Wits, Wenchers and Wantons; London’s Low Life”, and promptly spent time I should have been devoting to rewrites flipping through it. So many great ideas lurking between those covers . . .

    Reply
  8. Case in point, I just got turned on to Hamilton Books (HUGE THANKS to the wonderful Emily Hendrickson!) and I went on a positive orgy of book buying there. I have 23 books coming!!!
    And just last night I received my copy of “Wits, Wenchers and Wantons; London’s Low Life”, and promptly spent time I should have been devoting to rewrites flipping through it. So many great ideas lurking between those covers . . .

    Reply
  9. Case in point, I just got turned on to Hamilton Books (HUGE THANKS to the wonderful Emily Hendrickson!) and I went on a positive orgy of book buying there. I have 23 books coming!!!
    And just last night I received my copy of “Wits, Wenchers and Wantons; London’s Low Life”, and promptly spent time I should have been devoting to rewrites flipping through it. So many great ideas lurking between those covers . . .

    Reply
  10. I’m what my husband calls a Book-aholic. I cannot go to any store that sells books without stopping and have a little look-see. Most of those times, I’ll have gotten one or two paperbacks to add to my collection.
    I have books crammed all over the place and am dreaming of a huge bookcase that would take one whole wall in my livingroom (the longest one!). My husband is a carpenter and I’ve been bugging him a loooooonnng time for this piece of furniture that, to me, is indispensable to a book lover.
    I also have a VERY hard time weeding out the books in my collection I know I will never read again. I do it, because frankly I’m running out of room. I usually donate those to the library. Some I’ll never get rid of.
    A good website I found for buying good quality used books is abebook.com

    Reply
  11. I’m what my husband calls a Book-aholic. I cannot go to any store that sells books without stopping and have a little look-see. Most of those times, I’ll have gotten one or two paperbacks to add to my collection.
    I have books crammed all over the place and am dreaming of a huge bookcase that would take one whole wall in my livingroom (the longest one!). My husband is a carpenter and I’ve been bugging him a loooooonnng time for this piece of furniture that, to me, is indispensable to a book lover.
    I also have a VERY hard time weeding out the books in my collection I know I will never read again. I do it, because frankly I’m running out of room. I usually donate those to the library. Some I’ll never get rid of.
    A good website I found for buying good quality used books is abebook.com

    Reply
  12. I’m what my husband calls a Book-aholic. I cannot go to any store that sells books without stopping and have a little look-see. Most of those times, I’ll have gotten one or two paperbacks to add to my collection.
    I have books crammed all over the place and am dreaming of a huge bookcase that would take one whole wall in my livingroom (the longest one!). My husband is a carpenter and I’ve been bugging him a loooooonnng time for this piece of furniture that, to me, is indispensable to a book lover.
    I also have a VERY hard time weeding out the books in my collection I know I will never read again. I do it, because frankly I’m running out of room. I usually donate those to the library. Some I’ll never get rid of.
    A good website I found for buying good quality used books is abebook.com

    Reply
  13. I have to save my favorites, and my reference stuff (gardens, old houses, paint techniques, history, music, etc), best kid books, and so on. I have an old house, so I can have cases in different room for different catagories. I also cannot pass a book store without a look see, which usually translates into “just one”. My children groan. This addiction is abetted or agravated, depending on viewpoint, by the fact that I OWN A USB. But if I leave things at the store, someone might buy them before I get a chance to read them. Thank goodness my husband is longsuffering and can build shelves.

    Reply
  14. I have to save my favorites, and my reference stuff (gardens, old houses, paint techniques, history, music, etc), best kid books, and so on. I have an old house, so I can have cases in different room for different catagories. I also cannot pass a book store without a look see, which usually translates into “just one”. My children groan. This addiction is abetted or agravated, depending on viewpoint, by the fact that I OWN A USB. But if I leave things at the store, someone might buy them before I get a chance to read them. Thank goodness my husband is longsuffering and can build shelves.

    Reply
  15. I have to save my favorites, and my reference stuff (gardens, old houses, paint techniques, history, music, etc), best kid books, and so on. I have an old house, so I can have cases in different room for different catagories. I also cannot pass a book store without a look see, which usually translates into “just one”. My children groan. This addiction is abetted or agravated, depending on viewpoint, by the fact that I OWN A USB. But if I leave things at the store, someone might buy them before I get a chance to read them. Thank goodness my husband is longsuffering and can build shelves.

    Reply
  16. Yes, of course, books everywhere.
    But I am trying to covercome this a bit. I know that sounds awful, but I’m coming to see that there are books and there is book-clutter, and as a terrible clutterer, I’m trying, I’m trying.
    We’re going to try not to add new shelving. If we want new books we have to thin out the hoard. I’m learning to be tough with the book I haven’t read and probably never will. I try to think of it as finding them an appreciative home. The trouble is, some of them are battered, having been bought off library carts and such. I can’t yet bring myself to put a book in the garbage.
    But yes, I love books. Sometimes they are books I haven’t read for a long time, but I think they hold the magic of the reading experience and so sit there, giving off invisible pleasure like a flower giving off perfume.
    Jo

    Reply
  17. Yes, of course, books everywhere.
    But I am trying to covercome this a bit. I know that sounds awful, but I’m coming to see that there are books and there is book-clutter, and as a terrible clutterer, I’m trying, I’m trying.
    We’re going to try not to add new shelving. If we want new books we have to thin out the hoard. I’m learning to be tough with the book I haven’t read and probably never will. I try to think of it as finding them an appreciative home. The trouble is, some of them are battered, having been bought off library carts and such. I can’t yet bring myself to put a book in the garbage.
    But yes, I love books. Sometimes they are books I haven’t read for a long time, but I think they hold the magic of the reading experience and so sit there, giving off invisible pleasure like a flower giving off perfume.
    Jo

    Reply
  18. Yes, of course, books everywhere.
    But I am trying to covercome this a bit. I know that sounds awful, but I’m coming to see that there are books and there is book-clutter, and as a terrible clutterer, I’m trying, I’m trying.
    We’re going to try not to add new shelving. If we want new books we have to thin out the hoard. I’m learning to be tough with the book I haven’t read and probably never will. I try to think of it as finding them an appreciative home. The trouble is, some of them are battered, having been bought off library carts and such. I can’t yet bring myself to put a book in the garbage.
    But yes, I love books. Sometimes they are books I haven’t read for a long time, but I think they hold the magic of the reading experience and so sit there, giving off invisible pleasure like a flower giving off perfume.
    Jo

    Reply
  19. Yes, I,m a bookaholic…
    Have 15 bookcases, double stacked, a closet full of books, and a few stacked on the floor.
    I’m a bookaholic.
    Can’t pass a bookstore or any shelf of new books without sampling the merchandise…may or may not buy.
    I’m a bookaholic…..and I love it.

    Reply
  20. Yes, I,m a bookaholic…
    Have 15 bookcases, double stacked, a closet full of books, and a few stacked on the floor.
    I’m a bookaholic.
    Can’t pass a bookstore or any shelf of new books without sampling the merchandise…may or may not buy.
    I’m a bookaholic…..and I love it.

    Reply
  21. Yes, I,m a bookaholic…
    Have 15 bookcases, double stacked, a closet full of books, and a few stacked on the floor.
    I’m a bookaholic.
    Can’t pass a bookstore or any shelf of new books without sampling the merchandise…may or may not buy.
    I’m a bookaholic…..and I love it.

    Reply
  22. One of my favorite Anne Stuart books is Cinderman, an old Harlequin series romance. The hero has a house that he built himself, and it’s full of books stacked where-ever. Gotta love a bookaholic hero!

    Reply
  23. One of my favorite Anne Stuart books is Cinderman, an old Harlequin series romance. The hero has a house that he built himself, and it’s full of books stacked where-ever. Gotta love a bookaholic hero!

    Reply
  24. One of my favorite Anne Stuart books is Cinderman, an old Harlequin series romance. The hero has a house that he built himself, and it’s full of books stacked where-ever. Gotta love a bookaholic hero!

    Reply
  25. My name is Patricia Rice and I’m a bookaholic.
    Admittedly, I’m down from a six pack a day addiction, but only because the back bedroom is about to fall into the basement under the weight of my books.
    I am learning to cut back by buying only online, with a list of titles in my hand. Let me loose in a bookstore…. Really, it’s not pretty.
    And Hamiltons! Oh, please, don’t take me there! I think my bifocals are a direct result of reading that catalog.

    Reply
  26. My name is Patricia Rice and I’m a bookaholic.
    Admittedly, I’m down from a six pack a day addiction, but only because the back bedroom is about to fall into the basement under the weight of my books.
    I am learning to cut back by buying only online, with a list of titles in my hand. Let me loose in a bookstore…. Really, it’s not pretty.
    And Hamiltons! Oh, please, don’t take me there! I think my bifocals are a direct result of reading that catalog.

    Reply
  27. My name is Patricia Rice and I’m a bookaholic.
    Admittedly, I’m down from a six pack a day addiction, but only because the back bedroom is about to fall into the basement under the weight of my books.
    I am learning to cut back by buying only online, with a list of titles in my hand. Let me loose in a bookstore…. Really, it’s not pretty.
    And Hamiltons! Oh, please, don’t take me there! I think my bifocals are a direct result of reading that catalog.

    Reply
  28. from Susan Sarah…
    I see I am not alone in this affliction! Bookaholics,book lust, bibliophilic, what ever you call us and our shared condition — it’s rampant here at WordWenches!
    I loved reading all your comments, and I am glad to have such fine company in my happy dilemma. I’m not the only one with towering piles of books and double-stacked shelves, and making yet another trip to the bookstore (or book site!).
    Jo, I loved your description of why we give so many books a place on our shelves even though we’ve read them already:
    “…I think they hold the magic of the reading experience and so sit there, giving off invisible pleasure like a flower giving off perfume.”
    Exactly! Thank you.
    And Pat, you gave me a great out-loud laugh today. 🙂
    ~Susan Sarah

    Reply
  29. from Susan Sarah…
    I see I am not alone in this affliction! Bookaholics,book lust, bibliophilic, what ever you call us and our shared condition — it’s rampant here at WordWenches!
    I loved reading all your comments, and I am glad to have such fine company in my happy dilemma. I’m not the only one with towering piles of books and double-stacked shelves, and making yet another trip to the bookstore (or book site!).
    Jo, I loved your description of why we give so many books a place on our shelves even though we’ve read them already:
    “…I think they hold the magic of the reading experience and so sit there, giving off invisible pleasure like a flower giving off perfume.”
    Exactly! Thank you.
    And Pat, you gave me a great out-loud laugh today. 🙂
    ~Susan Sarah

    Reply
  30. from Susan Sarah…
    I see I am not alone in this affliction! Bookaholics,book lust, bibliophilic, what ever you call us and our shared condition — it’s rampant here at WordWenches!
    I loved reading all your comments, and I am glad to have such fine company in my happy dilemma. I’m not the only one with towering piles of books and double-stacked shelves, and making yet another trip to the bookstore (or book site!).
    Jo, I loved your description of why we give so many books a place on our shelves even though we’ve read them already:
    “…I think they hold the magic of the reading experience and so sit there, giving off invisible pleasure like a flower giving off perfume.”
    Exactly! Thank you.
    And Pat, you gave me a great out-loud laugh today. 🙂
    ~Susan Sarah

    Reply
  31. When I moved from a three bedroom house into a one bedroom apartment, I had boxes of books marked books, books, books, more books a lot more books. My sons aksed A’ Whay are you keeping all these books?” Simple, they are my friends. You don’t throw away friends. Sad to say I did have to change my habits. Now I haaunt the public library. I can reserve a book on line and just pick it up. So I now have a whole lot of friends.

    Reply
  32. When I moved from a three bedroom house into a one bedroom apartment, I had boxes of books marked books, books, books, more books a lot more books. My sons aksed A’ Whay are you keeping all these books?” Simple, they are my friends. You don’t throw away friends. Sad to say I did have to change my habits. Now I haaunt the public library. I can reserve a book on line and just pick it up. So I now have a whole lot of friends.

    Reply
  33. When I moved from a three bedroom house into a one bedroom apartment, I had boxes of books marked books, books, books, more books a lot more books. My sons aksed A’ Whay are you keeping all these books?” Simple, they are my friends. You don’t throw away friends. Sad to say I did have to change my habits. Now I haaunt the public library. I can reserve a book on line and just pick it up. So I now have a whole lot of friends.

    Reply

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