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I don't review books I don't like!

*****= An all-time favorite
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The Literary Addiction

by Tom Raabe

Reviewed December 6, 2003.
Fulcrum Publishing, Golden, Colorado, 1991. 179 pages.
A Sonderbooks’ Stand-out of 2003:  #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.

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