Title: Biblioholism: The Literary Addiction
Author: Tom Raabe
# pages: 163
Date published: 1991
Genre: nonfiction (humor)
Challenge(s): July Book Blowout (yes, I know, I’m behind…)
“Do you have a bookstore problem?”
Synopsis (from back cover): A hilarious guide for book lovers that brings book addiction out of the closet.
Have you ever...
- awakened, the morning after a book-buying spree, unable to remember how many you bought or how much you spent?
- been reprimanded or fired for reading on the job?
- purchased or rented additional living space... just for your books?
You are not alone. Your complete recovery awaits you -- just but one more book!
Random Thoughts: Cute book. I don’t think I’d go as far as calling it hilarious, but it was a fun, quick read. I could definitely relate to parts of it, but sometimes the author went a bit overboard and I didn’t find those parts funny.
“The crucial question for today’s bookahilic—the litmus test—thus becomes: Howm many of the books in our libraries do we read? … For, after all, to lay claim to even a scintilla of sanity, don’t we at least have to read some of the books we buy? … Where does the demarcation between “mania” and “philia” fall? … Eighty percent of books purchased read? Sixty percent? Twenty?” (p. 57)
“Some of us buy books in much the same way as a heavy drinker attempts to control whisky intake… We walk through the bookstore door with a set amount in mind, and we purpose to spend no more. This rationale allows biblioholics to engage their mania under the pretense that they have at least some measure of control over themselves. It’s simple and it makes sense, and it even works on occasion.
But it does create unique bookstore behavior. Money-Limit Buyers can be recognized by their constant shuffling of their stacks of books, putting one back, picking another up, now with seven, then with four, trading two $9.95 paperbacks for a $19.95 hardback, etc.” (p. 94)
I recognize myself in this description, but he has others including “The No-More-Than-$5.95 Shopper,” “The You-Can’t-Go-Wrong-For-Seventy-Five-Cents Rationale,” and “The Nothing-Here-But-Us-Lemmings Buyer.”
On reading in a nonbiblioholic’s house:
“Once we open a tome, all sense of tiem and place flies. We and our book become metaphysically one, impervious to outside stimuli. We sit as insensate blobs, sequestered, cloistered, holed up in some corner—just us, our thoughts, and a book…
Some nonbiblioholics, unaware of the intricacies of the disease, read these signs and mistakenly think we’re lonely…
Some benighted souls, despite all the signals we transmit, may even pursue the matter. They may keep trying to talk to us. Bless their hearts, they’re only trying to be sociable…
As an effective method to ward off this particular inroad into our reading habits, I suggest the following:
1. Don’t look up from your book. Under no circumstances establish eye contact. Mere nonacknowledgement will drive away a sensitive host. If this fails, a raised hand indicating that the speaker should stop might work…” (p.134)
“Just think, for a moment, what total abstinence from books would mean. Wrenched away from your bookish milieu and placed in a hostile, sterile, nonbook, nonreading environment…Slipping between the sheets at night and having no books by your bed. Reclining in your favorite reading chair with nothing to lay in your lap, nothing to hold in your hands, nothing to do with your eyes. Why, you’d have to watch television!” (p. 157)
Let’s give people a variety of opinions! If you've reviewed this book (or a book by this author), leave me a link to your review in the comments and I'll link to your review, too!