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I am a bibliomane. There. I said it.

I’ve known I was a “bookoholic” for a long time. Many bibliophiles suffer from this condition (a kind of obsessive-compulsive disorder) to one degree or another. Symptoms of bibliomania include collecting books which have no value to the collector, purchasing multiple copies of the same book and edition, and the accumulation of books beyond possible capacity of use or enjoyment. I am able to justify at least some inherent “value” to almost every book in my collection, though I am certainly guilty of buying multiple copies of the same book (and even edition in a few cases), and I have undoubtedly accumulated far more books than I am ever likely to be able to read or re-read (about half my total library falls into this category).

In a recent piece called “Confessions of a Book Hoarder,” the author complains that he thinks that he and his girlfriend have about 1,000 books in their residence. Ha! I have almost 5,000 books, and my wife probably has close to 1,000 of her own.

For further reading on the subject of bibliomania, I highly recommend Nicholas A. Basbanes’ A Gentle Madness: Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Passion for Books, and of course everything else that Basbanes has written as well (if you don’t know his work, be sure to pick this one up). Biblioholism: The Literary Addiction by Tom Raabe is a short, quick, fun read that also talks about bibliomania. I haven’t read Holbrook Jackson’s The Anatomy of Bibliomania or Thomas Frognall Dibdin’s Bibliomania: Or Book Madness (the latter was written in 1811 and is in the public domain), but both also cover the subject.

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