Monday, October 22, 2012


Every now and again I spend time reading book reviews.  These reviews are an important way for writers to gain some perspective on the industry . . . what's hot, what's not, etc.  And sometimes these reviews provide some interesting titles.

One upcoming book, One for the Books, is a title I'm looking forward to reading.  It is about one man's obsession with book collecting and reading--his house having been consumed by more than 6,000 titles.  The poor fellow, evidently, spends at least four hours a day reading, another two or three hours collecting even more titles, and the rest of his day earning income so that he can buy even more books.

I have a feeling this guy isn't married.  How could he manage a relationship and all of these books?

I'm always intrigued by book collectors, however, and by the titles they choose to purchase.  In the past three years I've read about collectors as diverse as Oscar Wilde and Larry McMurtry--two great writers of differing backgrounds who were nearly consumed by the volumes they brought into their homes.  Wilde, eventually, lost his entire library in a lawsuit (which crushed him), and McMurtry turned his affair with books into one of the largest used book stores in the United States.

Me? I'm a lightweight compared to these guys.  Oh, I think I have 2,000 titles in my possession now, but that's a far cry from 6,000+ or McMurtry's estate-crushing infatuation with 10,000+ titles.

I also continue to give my books away.  I love giving titles to people who enjoy a particular author or who might find satisfaction in reading a book that they can hold in their lap. 

Eventually, of course, I'll be dead and someone else will have to deal with my library.  My wife will probably call Half-Priced Books and sell the entire lot for $100.  I just hope she keeps my first-editions.  She might not know what she's doing.

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