I’m in the middle of sorting my books out. They aren’t necessarily the biggest problem in my life, but they are one that I can do something about. I don’t feel too bad about getting rid of books because they can go to friends, neighbours and charity shops.
Clothes can go to charity shops too, as can various other things, but I feel guilty about merely throwing things away. After years of keeping things “because they may come in useful”, I have a lot of useless junk, but keep hold of it because…well, you can guess.
Some of it is actually second and third hand, having been passed on to me by my father and grandfather. If you ever need a tester for thermionic valves or a magnifier for a 1950s TV screen I have one. (My grandfather was part of group that built their own TV sets in 1953 in time for the Coronation, in case you were wondering.) On the other hand, if you want stationery in pre-decimal sizes, my father has provided me with a large selection.
However, back to books.Do you know how many words there are to describe conditions related to books?
Bibliophilia – love of books
Bibliomania – accumulating books, including multiple copies, books of no collectable or financial value and numbers of books far beyond the collector’s capacity to read them.
Bibliophagy – book eating
Bibliokleptomania – compulsive book theft
Bibliotaphy – book burying
My favourite is a word my sister recently emailed me, with the words “I think this applies to us.”
Tsundoku, a Japanese word meaning the state of buying books and storing them without reading them.
I hold my hands up to bibliophilia, bibliomania and tsundoku.
I’m even considering Bibliophagy, on the grounds that books are high in fibre and low on digestible calories.
If you put them through the shredder a book has to be at lest as tasty as the spiralised butternut squash “noodles” we had last week.