The Literary Addiction
by Tom Raabe
Reviewed December 6, 2003.
Fulcrum Publishing, Golden, Colorado, 1991. 179 pages.
A Sonderbooks’ Stand-out
#5, Nonfiction Rereads
Available at Sembach Library.
Here it is! The book that reveals the depths of the depravity
of us Biblioholics.
I love the quizzes to test how far gone you are:
“Do you wake up the morning after, unable to remember how many
books you bought, or how much you spent on them?”
“Have you ever bought the same book twice without knowing it?”
“When you go to a bookstore after work, thus arriving home
late at night, do you lie about where you have been, telling your spouse
you were at a bar?”
“Does panic set in when you find yourself in a barber’s chair
or under a hairdryer with nothing to read?”
“Do you have at least six books next to your bed?” (Do
sixty books piled on your dresser count?)
Alas! I can check off even more items on this list than
the last time I took it. For example, I think that my website
alone qualifies me to check the “Yes” answer for this question:
“If someone asks you for a reading list of the twenty most
influential books you’ve ever read, do you happen to have such a list
on your person?”
This is a delightfully funny book, tracing the course of an
addiction and highlighting the dread warning signs of a problem.
The author also covers in several chapters great biblioholics of history.
These chapters will help you feel that your own problem is not so bad!
Tom Raabe’s solution is somewhat lacking. The fact is,
he knows that most of us don’t really want to change. He recommends
that you just keep buying books until it hurts—until you run out of room
or money. Only after you hit bottom will you be willing to change.
I’ve discovered a much better solution: Get a job at
a library! I know that there’s an addiction going on when I
feel that swelling of joy as the post office delivers a huge box of
new books. Let your acquisitive desires help the community!
When I was able to come up with a list of thousands of dollars of books
for the library to purchase, I blessed my job and was thankful that I
wasn’t spending my own money, but was instead spending money for the good
of the community.
Okay, I’m not cured, and I still have a problem when given
birthday money, for example, and I turn around and spend twice as much
as I was given on books. All the same, working at the library and
getting to order books from the book rental company has definitely helped.
Yes, I do go nuts periodically, and I have learned by experience that the
limit of books one person can check out is one hundred. Yes, there
are still far more books out there than I will ever be able to read.
However, I get them returned eventually, and there’s no harm done.
I always say that it’s far better than losing control in a library than
in a bookstore.
I’m sure there are many more biblioholics among my readers,
since you read my reviews because you are kindred spirits. You
will enjoy this book, exploring and laughing at the most delightful addiction
of them all.
Concerned loved ones may find this to be the perfect gift for
the biblioholic in their lives.
Copyright © 2003 Sondra Eklund.
All rights reserved.