When someone asked for me to describe myself, I usually apply the label of a book lover. It has become not only my biggest hobby I have ever held, but also my longest running leisurely pursuit. I’m always curled up with a book on my breaks and my lunch hour, and I find it vital to set aside time to read, like some people would for TV or some other form of entertainment. In a way, I center my free time around reading.
Recently, my apartment flooded, which called for the carpet experts to save us from mildew and black mold. I have several milk crates filled with books, and one of the shelves had to be relocated for access to the waterlogged carpet. The man who came for the job looked at my stack and said, “I have never seen someone own so many books.”
This set off a bit of worry (as does any home visit to my abode). I had a bit of a “Y U JUDGE ME” moment.
Am I taking this hobby too far? Am I venturing away from “love” and more into the territory of “obsession?”
When I did a bit of digging online for “book addiction”, I found the term tsundoku – a person who buys books but never reads them, and instead, piles them all over their living space. According to Wikipedia, this is a person who “it is letting books pile up in one’s room so much that the owner never gets a chance to read all of them.” It also notates that the term can also be “used to refer to books ready for reading later when they are on a bookshelf.”
This sounds like me perfectly. I do read some of the books, eventually. I also have a Kindle, which I load pretty heavily right now for my mother, who is on a reading kick at the moment. When I get paid, I rush off to Amazon to see what new books I want to buy. I never know what my mood will call for next, so I try to have a variety ready at my fingertips. Hell, I have more room for my books than I do for clothing.
When I read other bloggers and reader’s updates, I see that quite a few of them use the library, or use e-readers for their book supply. Then something just went off in my head: What if I am a book hoarder? What if I love books more than I love reading books? What if I really tried to ban myself from buying new books, that might sit on a shelf for 2 years? There is no denying that I love the feel of seeing that box in the mail, nestled with crisp, earth-scented pages. But I do want to READ all of my books as well.
However, if there is a term in another language that sums up my activity, then it isn’t as obscure and odd as I am lead to believe. Maybe this is a universal book love issue.
So, maybe I not only a book lover, but a book fanatic, a biblio-obsessed individual who might die under a fallen stack of books, but whatever I am, it makes me one happy hoarder.
So, reading friends, I ask you this: Are you a hoarder? Do you buy books intending to read them as soon as they come in? Are you a frantic, cramped individual who might need an intervention? I am really curious if your TBR pile is physical or virtual. Do you have a pile pile of books or an extra long list?