A Book Hoarder's Story

September 04, 2018

By Dylan Afuang

“Sometimes, looking at the many books I have at home, I feel I shall die before I come to the end of them, yet I cannot resist the temptation of buying new books. Whenever I walk into a bookstore and find a book on one of my hobbies...I say to myself, “What a pity I can’t buy that book, for I already have a copy at home.” ? Jorge Luis Borges, This Craft of Verse.

Spotting book lovers is easy. For starters, their definition of heaven is walking into a well- stocked bookstore, or committing to book hoarding and ‘tsundoku,’ as defined by arts and culture website BrainPickings. Then, they pretend that’s not a bad thing.

“I can’t buy any more books,” they would say, while walking inside that bookstore as if their legs have minds of their own (and they’ll probably tell you that it’s true).

“I haven’t saved enough from my allowance and I still got a lot I have yet to read.” But they still continue to inspect the shelves, looking at covers, turning this way and that, browsing each aisle.

Then they arrive at the counter with shopping basket filled with some reasons to satisfy their purchase: “Haruki Murakami is my writing hero. And the title of his latest short story collection, Men Without Women, sounds like my life. I might show up in the story.”

“‘Dead but not Forgotten’ is a catchy title.”

“Look at it, what a sleeve design.”

“Jeremy Clarkson, just because.”

“If I don’t buy this, it will be gone by the time I come back for it.”

“I have to buy another Twisted by Jessica Zafra. Read her work once and she becomes the voice inside your head. ”

“It’s a present for a friend.”

“Oh, this copy of Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf? I like the synopsis, I love Flush, and I need

to read more female authors.” – ending up with more books than nothing.

A book hoarder may appear hesitant to cough up some dough, but don’t be fooled. They are

buying those books because they want to, and it would cause them physical pain not to acquire more books. All that complaining about too many books is really just a thinly veiled boasting to how many books he has in possession, or how they will never run out of different universes to escape to when life bites hard.

Or the hoarder could be a writer on the side and he thinks his skills are a bit rusty.

However, reading backlogs, while serving as insurance for boredom (or lack of internet connection), still pose problems for the hoarder, especially when he or she is starting to spend a huge chunk of their time dusting the shelves.

Then when they have friends over, someone may ask them, “Have you read all these books?” or be told “What an interesting room decoration,” which is worse.

But the answer to the question is always the same: “No, but I’ll get around to them.” And the book hoarder really hopes he can follow through, or restrain himself.