Book Hoarding – Delve into the Psyche

19 Mar

I knew someone like Penelope Lively could explain why I hoard books (see post “Revealing My Boo–ks” to give you an idea of just how bad it is)

Bookshelves 011

in an NPR interview (via Literary Man’s link):

I feel so much better now that I have a “rationalized justification.” It makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?

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29 Responses to “Book Hoarding – Delve into the Psyche”

  1. stuffitellmysister March 19, 2014 at 12:38 pm #

    I love it…. “they chart my life”…. Gotta use that phrase!

  2. Carrie Rubin March 19, 2014 at 12:57 pm #

    Wow, you really do have a lot of books! Might be a fire hazard. 😉

    We had shelves and shelves of books, too, but over spring break last year, we did a major house cleansing and gave away many of them. We still have far too many books though, and I still keep buying them, so we’ll soon be back to square one. I wish I was as philosophical about it as Penelope Lively, but alas, I’m not. I just like to read, and I love books. 🙂

    • Jilanne Hoffmann March 19, 2014 at 1:11 pm #

      Yes!! Love everything about them. It’s astounding to look at the vast expanse of the Friends of the San Francisco Library book sale. Acres of donated books. It blows the mind, but not so much that it keeps me from buying more. Hundreds of people line up for the “members only” early hours of the sale. I have to admit that my son and I have stood in that line more than once. 😀

  3. FictionFan March 19, 2014 at 1:22 pm #

    I’m not as bad as you or Penelope Lively – mainly because I don’t have the space – but yes, the books I keep when I do the irregular charity run are the ones that say something more than the words inside – books I’ve been given, books that changed the way I thought about something, books that I pull out when I need some comfort-reading…and of course, books that are just too bloomin’ heavy to drag to the store… 😉

    • Jilanne Hoffmann March 19, 2014 at 2:55 pm #

      I’ll bet you have them double-rowed on the shelves. You must!

      • FictionFan March 20, 2014 at 9:59 am #

        Oh yes! Plus all the piles that haven’t quite made it onto shelves…

  4. Letizia March 19, 2014 at 2:07 pm #

    I like that she chooses to stay in a house rather than move to a flat because of her book collection. Seems like she has her priorities in place!

    • Jilanne Hoffmann March 19, 2014 at 2:56 pm #

      Yes, and that she’s going to solve the problem with a lift. Brilliant! She’ll probably have shelves installed on the lift.

      • Letizia March 19, 2014 at 3:49 pm #

        Yes, to read on the way up or down, haha!

  5. Lady Fancifull March 19, 2014 at 3:36 pm #

    Oh thank you Jilanne, I feel SO much better now. I’ve only got about 1000, and it hurts like pulling a tooth when i have to take an armload to the charity shop to make room for what is still being bought (and yes, I AM into double shelving, on one blessed, blessed deep bookcase, but I have reached the limit of wall space that can have shelves attached to them.

    If only some one would give me a mansion I would not need to have this one in one out policy. Well, its more like 5 in one out, really.

    • Jilanne Hoffmann March 19, 2014 at 6:59 pm #

      Ha! Scientists and science fiction writers spend so much effort on developing time machines. I think we really need someone to work on space machines, ones that will let you do exactly as you say–five in, one out—or forget the “out” part—for as long as you like.

  6. 4amWriter March 20, 2014 at 4:34 am #

    So true — everything I have ever read marks the interests and curiosity I had at that time. Books really do track who we are, at any given part of our lives. I am not able to keep a load of books in my small house, but sometimes I do wonder at my check-out history at the local library. It’s got to be pages and pages long, and of what? I should take a peek. 🙂

    • Jilanne Hoffmann March 20, 2014 at 9:44 am #

      I fondly look at my copies of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead that I read in my teens. I have since “grown out” of them, but I can’t bear to part with them, either. I am still regretting my decision to donate copies of a whole string of Faulkner books that I read but didn’t understand in high school—all because I took a Faulkner class that required an entirely new assortment of specific editions for a class I took while earning my MFA. I couldn’t justify keeping so many duplicates. But at least I can still remember how lost I was in Faulkner’s words when I was sixteen. I guess I don’t “really” need those old copies….I guess….

    • Jilanne Hoffmann March 20, 2014 at 9:45 am #

      Oh, and yes, it would be really cool to look at your reading history. Just don’t give the NSA access. 😀

  7. heylookawriterfellow March 20, 2014 at 8:31 am #

    Testify, Penelope!

    (And oh, how I love Terry Gross. I don’t think she has ever asked an unintersting question in her entire life. It is my life’s goal to be interviewed by her.)

    • Jilanne Hoffmann March 20, 2014 at 9:46 am #

      Let me know when you’re scheduled to go on. We’ll be all ears!

  8. Call of the Siren March 20, 2014 at 12:35 pm #

    It’s funny how we’re both thinking of the same issue, Jil — how many books should you keep? It’s the eternal question. thanks for posting this

    • Jilanne Hoffmann March 20, 2014 at 1:07 pm #

      If you were to ask my son, he’d say he’d keep them all. In fact, he’d keep everything he’d ever created, every scrap of paper he’d ever made into a paper airplane, every… You get the idea. But it’s worse with books. The angst, the angst.

  9. Sheila March 21, 2014 at 11:55 am #

    Very true. We’ve got books stacked or shelved in practically every room. I love to look at them and remember and every once in a while will still pick one up again. I also keep a notebook and add any sentences that strike me while reading so it helps to do that in case one of those books finds its way out of the house.

    • Jilanne Hoffmann March 21, 2014 at 1:07 pm #

      That’s a good idea! It would also help you recall where you read it. I think I’ll have to start my own notebook. Thanks for the idea!

  10. cricketmuse March 30, 2014 at 7:42 am #

    I gave up book hoarding after one too many moves of packing and unpacking tomes to new rooms.
    Viva la library card!

    • Jilanne Hoffmann March 30, 2014 at 6:08 pm #

      Yes, it’s been awhile since we’ve moved. Who knows what will happen if/when we leave this space. I put myself on the waitlist at the San Francisco Public Library for Michio Kaku’s “The Future of the Mind.” I’m 70th in line. The public library is fabulous in concept, but not always convenient when you want to read a book within the next two years. It’s good, I suppose, that many other books are not so popular–or at least, have passed the “I need to read the book because it just received a great review” window.

      • cricketmuse March 30, 2014 at 6:37 pm #

        Very true about waiting if you don’t want to buy the book!

  11. dkatiepowellart May 15, 2014 at 9:06 am #

    Okay, I played, and used the hashtag #shareyourbooks. And I prefer to call it collecting, not hoarding! “Share Your Shelves: Bookaholics Anonymous” and I visited all your list!

    • Jilanne Hoffmann May 15, 2014 at 9:44 am #

      Gluttony, thy name is Zenkat! You’ve been added to the list. Can’t wait to see what you stir up!

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