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#MicroblogMondays 120: Book Thief

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Atlas Obscura also had an article about bibliomania, a neurosis that afflicted people in the 17 and 1800s and caused them to spend all of their money collecting books.  (Or, in some cases, risked it all to steal books.)

In the case of bibliomania, it sounds more like any obsessive collecting — from rare comic books to Pokemon — but I clicked on the article due to the excerpt because it hit close to home.

I am a book hoarder.  I own more books than I could ever find time to read, plus I buy more books despite having stuff I’m excited about on my to-read list.  I hint to people that I really would love that book that they mentioned that they don’t want anymore.  I am about one step away from stealing library books like the first guy in the article.  At least the people in the article had an excuse — books were rare and hard to obtain.  Commercialization was supposed to be the cure.  But look at me!  I am a danger to all little free libraries in America.

Is there anything you collect without knowing what you would ever do with the collection?


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1. Mali (A Separate Life) 10. Ms. Infertile 19. Ryan
2. Mali (No Kidding) 11. Who Shot Down My Stork? 20. Jess
3. Different Shores 12. Isabelle 21. Jenn P
4. Movement Therapy 13. Nonsequiturchica 22. Empty Arms, Broken Heart
5. Anamika 14. Birds, Bees, and Medicine 23. Echo Vetter
6. Traci York, Writer 15. the OCD infertile 24. Kechara
7. Modern Gypsy 16. 35jupiterdrive 25. Anks
8. Loribeth (The Road Less Travelled) 17. Stephanie (Travelcraft Journal)
9. Lori@ Laughing IS Conceivable 18. Just Heather


1 Mali { 12.12.16 at 6:21 am }

I’m not really collector. Though I do find it impossible to give away books once I’ve read them, even if I never have any intentions of reading them again. Which is why I find e-books from the library are much safer!

2 Mali { 12.12.16 at 6:22 am }

I’m not really a collector. Though I do find it impossible to give away books once I’ve read them, even if I never have any intentions of reading them again. Which is why I find thate-books from the library are much safer!

3 Different Shores { 12.12.16 at 6:37 am }

I confess I did steal library books when I was a kid… I just coveted them so much. I was obsessed with old stuff and it was in the early 80s when small town libraries still had gorgeous old books out on their general lending shelves, like Edwardian editions of fairy tale collections illustrated by Arthur Rackham (yes I nicked that one, Ashton Library). I made Christmas cards out of the illustrations. I then nicked a couple of books at university because I was worried I wouldn’t have them long enough. I realise that that is just being selfish, irresponsible and deliquent, but there you go. I don’t steal stuff now, honestly.

4 Nabanita { 12.12.16 at 6:46 am }

Books it is for me too. I just lose all sense of judgement when it comes to books. So, I’m close behind you on this one.

5 Anamika Agnihotri { 12.12.16 at 7:24 am }

Books, books and books is the answer for me. I even buythose books which I have already read, upon borrowing from libraries on the pretext of collecting and keeping them in my own.

6 Charlotte { 12.12.16 at 7:55 am }

Once upon a time Inised to collect things: anything Winnie the Pooh, clamshell Disney VHS, Dvds, and cabbage patch kids, to name a few. But over the course of several moves over the years, and also living in smal spaces where displaying them wasn’t an option, I stopped holding on to physical things. I just don’t se the point anymore of collecting something to let it just sit.
On this last move I found a huge box of books, some read but many I hadn’t gotten to yet. I went through a period where I bought every book I heard of that sounded good, and eventually got way back logged. Packed and forgotten along the way, and when I looked at what I had, I had outgrown whatever it was that attracted me in the first place. I also collected books on my kindle and haven’t gotten to many of them, either. I go in cycles of reading a lot and then long stretches of not reading for whatever reason. Right now I just don’t have the time or the quiet space I need to sit and read.

7 Modern Gypsy { 12.12.16 at 9:10 am }

I’m a book hoarder too! I have to have at least 10 unread books on my shelf at all times. But as of now, that figure is much larger – perhaps close to 50? I guess no more book buying for a while!

8 loribeth { 12.12.16 at 9:20 am }

Oh, books, of course. I did get rid of about 60 small cartons full when we moved, but I still have enough to fill four IKEA bookshelves, plus a couple of Rubbermaid storage bins. I have not read many (OK, most) of the ones I kept, and I probably never will, but I will have fun trying. 😉 I have also accumulated large collections of scrapbooking supplies (also downsized, but I still have two plastic drawer towers and a couple of Rubbermaid bins full of stuff in our storage locker downstairs), vinyl LPs (handed over to our oldest nephew last year, pre-move), CDs (many of them duplicates of the vinyl LPs), DVDs (gave our complete collection of “The Simpsons” to our other nephew), Boyds Bears figurines (can’t seem to find them lately, which is probably just as well), lipsticks (threw out all the old dried up ones when we moved and made a vow not to buy any more unless it’s for a special occasion, because I still have a ton & I don’t wear makeup every day anymore)….

9 Lori Shandle-Fox { 12.12.16 at 9:35 am }

I think your obsession with hoarding books can relate back to years ago when books, as you say, were hard to get your hands on. It feels like the written book that you can put your hands on is almost a dying breed. I collect dolls from all over. I don’t go out and buy dolls but if people travel and want to bring me something, that would be my pick every time. I’ve often contemplated other things: I like bells and carousels. I love typewriters.

10 Ms. Infertile { 12.12.16 at 10:27 am }

I have a large amount of the skin care products… yeah, I’m one of those people with a several steps skin regimen: morning & night. I’m also allergic to so many things that each purchase is done with so much research and once I find one that my skin loves, I want to tell everyone and if not, my husband then dutifully uses the product until is gone. In the end, I enjoy the time taking care of me, especially after all that my body has gone through.

11 Risa { 12.12.16 at 10:36 am }

I do tend to hold onto books. I love books. Reading is my favorite pastime. And I tend to collect scrapbooking supplies and now I’m hopelessly drowning in them with no time to actually scrapbook.

12 em { 12.12.16 at 11:09 am }

Books. I’m in the midst of a huge sort of everything I own, as I’m trying to get down to very, very little in possessions, and books are the hardest! (And over my life, as I’ve moved a lot, I’ve gotten rid of thousands.)

13 Traci York { 12.12.16 at 12:15 pm }

I used to be the same way with books, but we made a decision about 5 years ago to downsize severely, move into a camper with our kidlets, and tour the country. After a gazillion trips to Goodwill, and many items placed on Craigslist (and still managing to fill a storage locker), we moved into a camper and the next step never materialized. While it was very cathartic in many ways, I’m still mourning those friends I sent to live in other homes (and it was my idea in the first place!).

14 nonsequiturchica { 12.12.16 at 12:15 pm }

Not really. Every time I move I love to purge and try to do it yearly at least. My husband has been holding on to various kitchen items that we never use and they are just sitting, taking up space in our basement. As far as books there are a few that I keep after reading them, but I have never gone back to read them again. Maybe someday when I have time.

15 Lavonne @ the OCD infertile { 12.12.16 at 1:31 pm }

Make-up. Somehow I have managed to collect so many different eye shadow palettes, lip products, and other random things and I just don’t know when I’ll ever use all of it. Especially since I work in an environment that I can’t really lay on the lipstick or dark smokey eye….but it’s all so pretty, and when I get a chance to use it I’m thrilled I have it all.

16 Working mom of 2 { 12.12.16 at 4:28 pm }

Ha, I never stole library books but I was known to add my own crayon drawings to a few in my youth (ca. age 3). Not sure how my parents handled that with the library…

17 Stephanie (Travelcraft Journal) { 12.12.16 at 5:20 pm }

I end up holding on to weird odds and ends that I think I’m going to craft with. But it’s faster to collect it than to craft it! :/

18 Ryan { 12.12.16 at 7:07 pm }

I collect paper magazines and sometimes comics, although I am trying to do that less when digital copies are available. Physical clutter from that has gotten to be a bit messy for me.

19 Jess { 12.12.16 at 7:33 pm }

Hmmm, I’m not really a collector, except maybe of dust bunnies. I gather books, but I don’t really hoard them, unless you count stacks on the floor with no shelves left to put them as hoarding, but they WILL get read, eventually. And I do let them go, lending them out and I’ve even convinced myself that some don’t need to make their way back to me. I am laughing at the idea of you sneaking around at night, pilfering from Little Free Libraries all over, emptying the little boxes for miles and miles. Oh, just saw Ryan. Inadvertently collect magazines. I have to force myself to throw out years’ worth every once in a while when they don’t fit under the coffee table anymore. 🙂

20 Jenn P { 12.12.16 at 8:26 pm }

I have had such a horrible time downsizing books for my move. I want to keep them all! But in a 25fy motorhome, it isn’t going to work. Since I sell used books on Amazon, I go to thrift stores a lot and I have yet to leave without buying something for myself or my son. I love certain authors and illustrators like Robert Munsch, Jan Brett, and John Burningham so if I find one we don’t have, I must buy it.

21 Echo { 12.13.16 at 1:12 am }

Ha! I can SO relate. I have stacks all over the house, always. Goodreads has been my undoing. And the library. And any bookstore I have ever set foot in. Love em, can’t imagine life without em!

22 anks { 12.13.16 at 1:45 am }

Books…. me too… and Lipsticks!!! I hoard them like crazy and it breaks my heart to throw or give away even those that i know i will not use!

23 Middle Girl { 12.13.16 at 9:38 am }

I wish I had the space and resources to own and house all the books I want. In addition to books would be pens, pencils, and papers.

24 Lori Lavender Luz { 12.13.16 at 2:55 pm }

I do love books. In fact, one way I knew my husband was The One was because he felt the same about books. Whenever we met a new couple and went to their home, we’d love to look at their books as a shorthand for what the people were about. We figured others did the same to us and we used our books almost as decor. The ones we’d acquire or pull out would relate to the season or current events or our interests or our curiosities.

But along the way, we have stopped collecting. Part of it was having kids (stuff! Stuff always coming in to the house faster than it could purge itself!) and part of it was ebooks. I kind of miss those bookier days.

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