My name is Barbara and I’m a book hoarder.
Though I confess I’m still in denial – I mean there’s a reason I can’t give up the books on these shelves (in my office, living room, bedroom.) The reason is that the books are old friends. We have history. I remember when we met, where I was when I read them, and inside are little marks of love or questions or rows of !!!!!!. Besides if you write and teach you just never know when you’re going to need that book for research or to quote in class.
Recently I read something (in yet another book, Life Itself by Roger Ebert, that I now need to find space for) – In his wonderful essay/chapter entitled “Books Do Furnish a Room,” Ebert figured he and his wife Chaz had three to four thousand in their town house, including all the books he’d owned since he was seven, starting with Huckleberry Finn. He says: “I cannot throw out these books.” He adores his books and goes on for four pages about why he can’t get rid of them. “Some are enchanted because I have personally turned all their pages and read every word.” But he does admit to many he hasn’t read and maybe never will, but “You just never know. One day I may need to read Finnegans Wake, the Icelandic sagas, Churchill’s history of the Second World War, forty-seven novels by Simenon…”
I wish Ebert hadn’t departed this earth so I could write to him, and he could write more books and review more films. I want to thank him for making my obsession feel normal, and for giving so much pleasure to readers with his own writing. I may be a book hoarder but I’m in such good company.