I think at this point it’s pretty obvious I’m a full-fledged book hoarder. Sweetbeeps and I have amassed a collection of about 2,300 physical books and we’re only in our early 30s! So I figured I’d take a few minutes to ramble about hoarding.
If you’ve been around the blog for a little while, you’ve probably seen one of the few posts where I talk about how many unread books I have.
That’s not quite the focus of this post though. I just wanted to explore why I own – and love owning – so many damn books. The fact that I have zero self-control when it comes to buying the books I want is obvious. Let’s talk about the other reasons I hoard:
+ I’m far more likely to read a book if I own it – I love to support my local library, but chances are, if I set foot in there, I’ll come out with more books than I can possibly read and I’m just keeping them out of the hands of others while they gather dust on my bureau. And if I love a book I read, chances are I’ll want to own it in case I ever want to read it again, so thus, I buy it! I’m a mood reader too, so if a book is in my house, it allows me to pick it up the moment the urge strikes me, rather than having to make the time to go borrow or buy it.
+ Books are beautiful – a large part of my collection is purely for looks. That’s not to say the content doesn’t interest me; but let’s face it, I have 30-something copies of Pride and Prejudice because I love the way they’re designed. It’s not like I read them all. In fact, with cases like Pride and Prejudice, The Hobbit, Sherlock Holmes, His Dark Materials and the other books I have multiple editions of, I have dedicated “reading copies” so that my special editions don’t suffer any wear and tear. The majority of my vintage collection is just for looks and arrayed in a rainbow for added aesthetics.
+ I need matching editions – Ok, I’m pretty liberal with the word need, but you know what I mean. Nothing pisses me off more than when a series is revamped or discontinued in a different format. Obviously in some cases it might be impossible to get a matching set because one doesn’t exist, but I try to be on the ball about buying books in a series, even if I haven’t read them all, so they at least match.
+ They might go out of print – As much as I love hunting for Tanith’s books, it’s getting harder to find the ones missing from my collection. I don’t want to pay out the ass for a 1970s yellowing DAW paperback that used to sell for $1.00 simply because it’s the only edition left. I’d like to get those cheaply, thanks.
+ E-books just don’t appeal to me – I’ll accept them for review if it’s the only way to get my hands on a new release, but I don’t derive any pleasure from the physical act of reading an e-book. I find the screen hard to concentrate on and I really miss being able to turn a page, easily flip to a map or place a sticky on a passage I want to remember.
+ I don’t want physical books to disappear – I don’t actually think they’ll become a rarity in my lifetime, but hey, I gotta support the printed book market whenever possible!
+ They make me happy – Collectors edition or reading copy, just looking at my overstuffed shelves makes me happy. I’ve always loved libraries and I see no reason why I shouldn’t cultivate one for myself (y’all no my strict “no lending” rule though, so don’t ask!) There’s something both calming and exciting about being surrounded by books. I’ve already talked about how I believe reading is magic – why shouldn’t I fill my home with magic!?
Hoarding isn’t without its downsides, however:
+ The (exquisite) torture of what to buy or read next – I’m lucky I’m able to keep a steady supply of books coming into the house, but that doesn’t mean I can simply buy whatever book I want whenever I want. I’m constantly torn between purchasing books that have been on my wishlist for years or new releases. No matter what, I know my choice will make me happy, but it’s always so hard! The same goes for what to read. I am surrounded by hundreds and hundreds (and hundreds) of unread books every damn day – I never know what I might pick up next.
+ The crippling fear and sadness of knowing I’ll die with so many unread books – I’ll save my fear of my mortality for a personal journal, but I have to face the facts that unless I not only stop buying books this very moment, but refuse to accept them as gifts or for review, and then spend the next like 8 or 9 years reading what I own, I’m never going to be able to read every book I own. That’s scary! And sad! Am I the only one that feels this way?! And that’s not even thinking about all the books I want to read and will probably never own! AHHHH. I want to live forever for the sole purpose of reading.
+ I’m running out of room – I never used to have piles, unless they were decorative. Now my bureau is being overtaken by “priority” TBRs that I have no room for on my shelves. Even if I read those books, I still have no friggen clue where I’d put them. I might be able to mount a few wall shelves if I can persuade Sweetbeeps, but we’re pretty much at maximum capacity for bookshelves. Time to buy a bigger house!
+ Everyone thinks I’m crazy – oops, turns out I actually don’t care!
There you have it, a few ramblings on my habit of hoarding. Are you a certified book hoarder? Do you want to be? See this post for tips! Do you sympathize with my plight?