Do you have books in almost every room of your house? Do you have at least one pile of “to read” books somewhere in your home that is seemingly getting larger by the minute? Are you currently using books to, shall we say, accessorize your house—as pedestals for lamps, decorative doorstops, or bookends for other books? Do visitors frequently compare your domicile to a library?
Then you, my friend, may be a book hoarder. Welcome to the club.
Shows like Hoarders, Intervention, and The Biggest Loser are all about the transformation—the glorious life-change that comes from being compelled (and oftentimes forced) to understand and eliminate destructive behavior or tendencies.
A word of warning to those who may be plotting to cast me in a Hoarders-style show for bibliophiles: Stay. Away. From. My. Books.
If you’re like me, your books are an extension of yourself. They’re a part of who you are. The books on my bookshelves and stacked in piles throughout the house tell my own personal story. They chronicle my history as a reader and, to discerning bibliophiles, offer up a glimpse into my very soul.
Whenever I visit someone’s home, I inevitably gravitate to a bookshelf to see what kinds of books are being displayed. You can tell a lot about someone by the titles on his shelves!
Those who visit my house will find decades worth of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and mystery. And hidden among the stacks, some poetry, eastern philosophy, graphic novels, and romance.
I consider books that I keep to be very much like photographs. Most books bring me back to a memorable moment in time, or at the very least elicit some kind of strong emotional response.
For example, seeing my copy of Lamentation by Ken Scholes—the first installment of his extraordinary Psalms of Isaak saga—always brings me back to the birth of my first daughter. Lamentation was the novel I brought to the hospital, and was the book that I read during my first night as a father.
My yellowed paperback copies of Michael Moorcock’s Elric saga take me back to ninth grade, when three bullies relentlessly picked on me every day before homeroom. Reading those books offered up invaluable escapism back then—and let me envision taking vengeance on them with Elric’s soul-sucking sword Stormbringer. Again, and again, and again.
I have special sections for particularly beloved authors like Kat Richardson, Laurell K. Hamilton, R.A. Salvatore, Richard Kadrey, and Arthur C. Clarke. I have areas for apocalyptic fiction, paranormal fantasy, and zombie fiction.
I even have book cover art framed and displayed on my walls—a print of the cover of Salvatore’s The Highwayman signed by legendary artist Todd Lockwood, a poster of the cover art for Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children signed by Ransom Riggs, etc.
If I were producing a Book Hoarders reality show, I’d completely change the format… Instead of an intervention forcing a book lover to part ways with a sizable portion of his literary hoard, wouldn’t it be fascinating to chronicle the impressions of a bunch of strangers after thoroughly examining the books in a book hoarder’s house?
What would people think about you if they could peruse the stacks in your home?