Since I gave up buying books, it seems like I have more books than ever. For years, my little hoarding problem expressed itself as a compulsion to collect all kinds of paper: books, magazines (remember those?), clippings from newspapers (ditto), random health pamphlets from the dermatologist’s office, Jack Chick comics, 10-year-old bank statements… . And by “collect,” I mean stuff into boxes and bags and make a big pile in every room in the house. But when I saw a documentary about the people who are paid to go in and clean out hoarders’ homes, I got scared straight and I have been slowly dealing with the mess.
Although I’ve stopped buying books (sort of), I haven’t stopped reading. I do go to the library, which not only is free but they make me give the books back after a few weeks, so I figure it doesn’t do any harm. A senior boss at my dayjob gave me her old Kindle, which had about a hundred books on it (many of which I deleted because I really do not need to read dozens of novels about the modern-day grandchildren of World War II survivors); I really like the Kindle, because it takes up a lot less space than seven boxes of books in the middle of the dining room. But there are still a lot of actual, physical books coming into the house, because my good friend A. sends me boxes of discarded review copies from her job.
Friend A. has a good idea of my taste in reading material, so she sends me lots of nonfiction science-y books, and books about food and cooking, and photo and art books. It’s fun to open the packages from her, because I never know what’s going to be inside and sometimes there’s something pretty amazing. The last box was the most amazing of all, because it contained both Talking Heads: The Vent Haven Portraits, by Matthew Rolston, and Dulce Pinzon’s The Real Story of The Superheroes.