Books have remained constant fixtures in my life. From childhood to early adulthood, I have always had my nose stuck somewhere in the middle of a book. Currently, I have eighteen books checked out from my university’s library–will I get to all of them by the end of the semester, probably not–and I just spent over twenty dollars at a discounted bookshop–did I need any of these of these books for any particular reason, not really. So why hoard an obscene amount of books that I know I haven’t the time to read? Because I’m obsessed with reading–have been since I read my first sentence. I remember when I got my first library card and would practically live in between the shelves—scanning the summaries of novels, piling them up high on the counter and taking them all home to divulge, some with ravenous intrigue, others with a close and slow analyzation. Most books I could never get to, but refused to part with them (resulting in a shameful accumulation of library fines).
There’s an excitement I feel when I think about a good story at home waiting for me to finish. I often rush through tasks, absent-mindedly, longing for the moment at which I and my current beloved book are reunited. It’s not as creepy as I’m making it sound, or perhaps the debilitating need to constantly have a book at the ready, be it in my bag, in my trunk, on my kindle, is a bit manic. Judge all you like, but I am not the only one.
Critically-acclaimed author, Zadie Smith (White Teeth, The Autograph Man, On Beauty) in her article for oprah.com, has given a name to this addiction “bibliomania,” and has inducted herself into its solitary and obsessive club.
She admits to:
“packing for a short flight between London and Belfast, with my Kindle, certainly, but also with four or five hardback books jammed into my hand luggage, just in case. Just in case we happen to fly through a wrinkle in time in which an hour expands to accommodate infinity.”
Though Zadie might not feel as if such an obsession is worth being boastful of, I find no reason to be ashamed of it (although it can be quite pathetic if you decline weekend plans with your friends to stay in and read).
If you’ve foud yourself overcome with the same disorder, read more of Zadie’s article.