Oh that wonderful feeling when you walk into a bookstore, dead tree or electronic, and find an embarrassment of riches. This book is great and that one is great, and you have to have this one, oh and that one must come home with you. You take your precious loot home and then you read about 30% of it. The rest are there, waiting, like magical doors to other dimensions, full of possibility and adventure.
Nobody understands. People call you ugly names like “book hoarder.” Family members ask ridiculous questions like, “Do you need that many books?” and “Where are you going to put those? Everything is full.” Sometimes they even dare to impose conditions on your love of books. “For every book that comes in, one must come out. No more shelves. No, you can’t have the third Kindle just for the bathroom.”
The next time your good name is besmirched, hold you head high, lift your stack of books in the air, and tell them that you are practicing the ancient art of tsundoku. Not only it enriches everyone’s lives but it also has health benefits.
And if they give you any more trouble, just point them to this article on Big Think.
book hoarding life enrichment!
😂my bed will never collapse! Every inch of space underneath is crammed with books!
When my daugter was little, we were bouncing on my bed together and it collapsed. We propped the corner up with books. It’s one of her favorite memories and proof positive that knowledge is never wasted!
Hehehe! I received a book people gift card for Xmas and can hardly wait to finish spending it. Trying to at least read the first one before going back.
Patricia Schlorke says
Oh my gosh I can relate about the “why do you need more bookshelves?” question. My mom, before e-books, had a library in the house when I was young. She was the one who taught me that books are precious and wonderful. She also took time with me to read out of my children’s books when she was going to school. Sometimes she would read out of her psychology books (that could be why I don’t like psychology).
When I asked why she had so many books, she told me “books are an escape from real life. Sometimes we need that escape.” Boy isn’t that the truth. 🙂
Moderator R says
A new Kindle is an automatic bday present from Mr Mod R every year we’ve been together.
Meaning I have a bookshelf just for Kindles, reaching what I like to call Book Inception: a bookshelf of bookshelves, a wheel within a wheel, like the circles that you find in the windmills of your mind.
Kat in NJ says
Oh, I know what you mean…kind of like it is never ending or beginning on an ever spinning reel? Cool! 🤣
Thank you for this, Mod R – now I don’t feel so back about my double-digit Kindle collection (to be fair, some are for my kids too)!
I challenge you to move into triple-digit territory post-haste! 🙂
Sadly, I’m already in triple digits of Kindle backlog. However, much of that is books my spouse bought that don’t interest me.
I’m not sure of the value of Tsundoku, when the books are all escapist fiction, versus books for knowledge, but I’ll happily claim it anyway.
Loved this song when I was a kid. Probably performed on the Ed Sullivan show, or one of the other variety shows. (Was very into folk music when I was 10 – 12 years old.)
Round and round i go
down and down i go
in a spin
I’m lovin that spin that I’m in
lovin that old black magic called love
I have around six kindles squirreled away (I daren’t count them) but my favorite one was the first one with the keyboard – it’s all been downhill since then…. 🙁
And here I was feeling guilty about wanting a new ereader!!!
Laura Martinez says
I feel seen!!!! I have been clearing out my closet of stuff so I can make room for more books!!!
Patricia Schlorke says
Hopefully this won’t be a duplicate of what I wrote earlier.
I can relate to the “why do you have so many bookshelves?” question. My mom, before e-books, had a library in the house when I was young. She taught me that books were precious and to enjoy them. She used to read to me out of my children’s books when she was in school. She also read out of her psychology books (that could be why I don’t like psychology 🤭).
I asked her why she had so many books. Her answer was “books are an escape. We need that escape sometimes.” Isn’t that the truth. 😁🤪
There is no such thing as too many bookshelves/books. Every now and again I’ll just sneak in a new shelf for displaying items and books magically appear to fill in the ‘extra’ space.
Michelle M says
Thanks for this, its nice to know I am not alone in my book collecting. In recent times I have been more critical of which books I keep (all Iona Andrews novels are in that category) and which I read and find a new home for. So many persons in my life have been benefitting from this new approach and have introduced to new authors and genres. A win win situation for everyone.
It is a very real problem. I’ve been trying to transfer it to the cheaper experience in Library books, which works like half the time. The other half is I just can’t wait for the hold!
I ran out of space, which is why I moved fully to the digital space with the kindle. My current bookshelves are triple stacked, on their sides and though I love paper books, and I love how they smell and how they are to touch, I love to read even more then I love the physical form. So many new universes, thoughts I would never think, ideas that are so wonderful, knowledge to learn. Books are the bomb!
Yes, i have had to pare down while downsizing. The kindle helps. So does having grown children who read. At one point I had 10 5 foot shelves and 8 8 foot shelves, about 75% S&SF, some double stacked. Now I am down to 6 8 foot shelves, and trying to slowly gift away the rest.
I have to say, it’s amazing the things left to read about. I get it.
Mary Beth says
Everyone needs a stack of emotional support books.
**Goes off to dust off the closest pile**
Patricia B. says
You are my tribe 🙂 And with all we have been through in the last few years we all need more emotional support than ever ::wanders off to make more stacks ::
I have a very few new books waiting for me to get to them. I will – I just haven’t yet.
My new acquisitions are mostly ebooks now. I simply cannot find space for every book I like in dead tree form.
My iPad tells me my kindle library has passed 9,000 books. Some of those duplicate books I have on a shelf.
If I really like a book, I have it in ebook and hardcopy, though not necessarily hardback. I am trying to pare down and donate many of my older books that I will probably only read electronically from now on, whether I have the paper copy or not.
Some of the books are ones I have bought and will not read again, usually because I don’t like them for some reason or the series has ended without a resolution and the writing has not held up.
(I also have books on Apple books, but nowhere close to the kindle totals.)
I need to get bookshelves for what I have, but I am unwilling to build the darn things, especially since I am informed that IKEA shelves seldom survive a move unscathed. Hence new shelving instead of moved shelving…
Bookshelf shopping is on my agenda for the new year, I suppose. I cannot move the (much reduced) library I have until I can put them somewhere!
😂😂😂😂😂 Thank you!
Thank you for the ammunition. I will keep all suggestions handy.
thank you for this great post, I’ve already forwarded it to two friends, one to show how i’m not crazy and another to commiserate! I feel vindicated that my one crammed bookcase is not a waste of space!
You’re not alone. I rate trousers by whether you can tuck a paperback into the back pocket.
Kat inNJ says
Isn’t that the only way trousers should be rated? 😁
I won’t buy pants that don’t have pockets. Regular length, capris, shorts; all have to have pockets. The fashion people who decided women’s pants didn’t need pockets are not my friends!
This, so much this! Pockets are a necessary part of trousers, and of many tops, anyone who says they “spoil the line” is simply incapable of good garment design.
Though this only applies for casual clothes, men’s or women’s. If I put anything in the trouser pockets of a suit, it looks dorky. Can carry only small things and use only the inside jacket pockets.
This. We moved across the country when I was 14. My parents packed up over 100 boxes of books. Not little boxes. The heavy duty boxes for shipping liquor and wine. My mom trolled all the liquor stores in town. We always got books for birthdays and Christmas. I inherited this affliction. I double shelve my books because I have run out of bookcases and have no more room for more.
Every year my son asks me what I want for my birthday and threatens “If you don’t tell me something you want I’ll just get you another Amazon gift card.” Every year I
smile and say “I’ll let you know if I think of something,” while mentally making a list of books to purchase next ::cackles quietly to herself, rubbing hands together in anticipation::
Thank God someone now has a polically correct term for my book collecting/reading . When I moved from my parents house, I had to have someone come to their house and pick up the hundreds of books I had amassed. 😢
My father told me I would have been a very wealthy girl if I didn’t read so much. You make your choices. I love my books but moved onto a reader so I never have to watch my babies be taken away. That was STRESS.
When Terry Pratchett realized he was losing money by working his day job instead of writing, and started getting a much higher income, he said something along these lines:
Most people with a sudden influx of money spend vertically, buying things they wouldn’t have considered at their previous income. The way to keep more of the cash is to spend horizontally, buying more of what you already buy.
This was also to explain why his house was so full of books.
Doesn’t everyone double or triple shelve?!😉
I was bummed, so bummed, when ikea stopped making a certain type of bookcase that allowed me to quadruple stack my B-sized mass market paperbacks. Two rows atop of two rows per shelf. With, obviously, a ranking in which author got stacked where, my comfort reads getting pride of place in the top front row.
But the B-sized mmppb seems to be getting phased out, and A-sizes don’t fit two high… The end of an era 😅
Is there my other way?
yes, is there any other way?
I immediately sent this to my husband, who does the terrible things you talk about and calls me the nasty names, and to one of my best friends, whose wife does the same thing to him.
I will say two things for myself: I pulled both Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin and The Red aren’t by Anita Diamant out of the 70% pile years after I’d bought either, and both are books I *highly* recommend now. Much more so than most of the 30% pile.
Second: it’s so much harder to go through the 70% on my Kindle. I switched to Kindle when I moved to Austria, because I couldn’t afford the 1000’s of dollars to ship my library*, and now all my unread books are push so I have to scroll down and scroll down at a monumentally slow pace (even on the Paperwhite Signature) and with the most recent “update” it’s even harder to see. So, as I’m certain has been tested and found to work, I THINK my 70% pile has become more like 90%. But I have still gathered so many books that are not available on Kindle/not designed to be read on Kindle (graphic novels, special editions, poetry) that my husband still has plenty of material to work with.
*and said library was stored at my mother’s house, and donated almost entirely when we had to move her to a nursing home.
that horribly slow scrolling on Kindle is a big reason why I stopped using mine soon after I got it. I tend to look for what to read next by scrolling through my whole collection to see if rereads might catch my eye…the kindle makes it way too slow and so I’ve gone back to using the CoolReader android app on my phone
Just a question, as I don’t own a kindle anymore. I use the kindle app on my iPad mini instead and I had the same problem, altho the scrolling was faster. Anyway, the app let me create folders which I have labeled by author. Several of my authors have more than one folder, for instance IA Kate and IA Innkeeper are two of them. Will the kindle allow this? It’s not perfect but it’s much better than it was.
I have folders on my Kindle. I organized by theme, but you can make it however you want.
Everytime i have to call customer service, i plead with them to add navigation tabs to the library….not to mention that right now, the books will not stay organized by ‘Author’s Last Name’ …. nooooo…it reverts to ‘Most Recently Read’ if I so much as blink!
A perdition on all lazy code monkeys!
No. The Kindle will let you create folders but not subfolders. What it offers instead is that it automatically combines series — but not WITHIN a folder. If I open my Ilona Andrews folder and open Magic Bites, when I return to my list organized by “Most Recent” the first item will be an automatically created series folder and the second the Ilona Andrews folder I have created. You must own at least two books of a series for the automatic folder and that automatic folder will only contain what Amazon considers the main series books — no novellas, no Gunmetal Magic, etc.
Moreover, within the Ilona Andrews folder I created, there are no subfolders, automatic or manual.
The Kindle is NOT great. It’s ok. I continue to use the best of the PaperWhites for four reasons:
1) ten years of book buying makes me unwilling to change brands
2) I read in bed before sleep and the PaperWhite doesn’t glow if I tell it not to.
3) the PaperWhite is the most booklike in my hands. It does one thing very well — text. And that’s the thing I need most. The vast majority of my library was mass market paperbacks, and the Paperwhite is closest to mimicking those. The Oasis is very similar, but in my opinion mimics hardcovers.
4) I won’t move within the Amazon brand because of Alexa. Can’t be turned off, anything besides the PaperWhite and Oasis comes with Alexa. Lately even buying a lamp from Amazon without Alexa has proven a challenge, I wouldn’t voluntarily open my home to it even without reasons 2 & 3.
My husband understands I get a gift card every year for our anniversary $10 for each year, this year was $180. And he has a list of books I want and my favorite authors. Other family members always comment on thats all he gives you? They have no idea it means the world to me.
This! I ask for book gift cards and hardly ever get them, people telling me “but you have so many books already” – yes, exactly, that’s because I love them! So happy to hear your husband gets you 😊
Wes d says
We are a book devouring hoard after all..
Liv W says
ROOOOAAAAAAARRRRRRR! YESSSSSSSSSS to the infinite power!
Moderator R says
Hehehe, the Book Devouring Horde received the message well 😀
Patricia Schlorke says
Yep. I have the t-shirt to prove my proud membership. 🤣🥳
Let me guess…
Books make me happy.
Ooomans make my head hurt
I had the extreme fortune to be able to go listen to Sir Terry Pratchet speak, and then meet him after and get him to autograph my copy of Pyramids.
He told a wonderful story about how, before his books started to become successful, he never had enough bookshelves and there were always stacks of books on the floor. When his books started to get more popular and he had more money, he and his wife bought a new house and he put in more bookshelves, thinking “finally, I can have enough bookshelves.”
But he still had stacks of books on the floor to which he imparted this nugget of wisdom – there can never be enough bookshelves. 🙂
I just posted something similar about Sir Terry, but I don’t know where it went.
Anna L says
i volunteer at one of the largest friends of the library sales in the united states and this makes me feel better because i definetely have a lot of books i havent read. im limited by my bookshelves. And i havent read a lot of them because i keep rereading books like all of ilona andrews collection
Judy Schultheis says
According to Delicious Library, I have 2,095 hard copy books.
According to Amazon, I have almost that many for my Kindle, and I know that somewhere in the vicinity of 100 are series collections with anywhere from 4 to 8 books in one volume.
What can I say? Reading is a cheap addiction.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing this info about tsundoku! I currently have 10 books TBR on my Kindle and 4 on my bedside table.
Reading is my happy place!
Happy New Year to all!
Dawn Page says
Every time you do a live thingie from your office, I COVET your empty shelf space on the shelves in the office. We used to have 10 book shelves jammed tight. Our kids came for Christmas, and turned all the books so that their spines faced the walls. 11 bookcases of disinheritance. It was12 years ago, and I am still mad. I brought it up this Christmas, and they all laughed like loons, I went out and spent every last penny of their inheritance on legos for their kids, and Barbie shoes.
Moderator R says
There is empty space sometimes because it is closely guarded space! Only special reference books get to live there for the duration of writing a manuscript, when they go to make room for new research, and IA back stock (very little).
Patricia Scott says
Now I know what to do with my extra Kindle!!!!❤️. Thank you 😊
I just finished reading (with eyes or ears) my 214th book of the year, thanks to my local library, Audible and Amazon. all on my iPhone and MacBook, except for one knitting book for my tiny book shelf which is all the room I have. The last one I listened to on New Years Eve (because I read it when it first came out and it was one of my favorites) was ONE FELL SWEEP. It seemed fitting to end the year with it. With my cataracts waiting for the insurance to cover their removal, I am so grateful for audio books and that it is so easy to listen anywhere with my phone.
When I think of how little I use it to actually make and receive calls, the name doesn’t seem to fit. So from now on mine is an iFab!
Happy safe, healthy, and happy New Year, house Andrews and BDH❣️
Elizabeth Jensen says
Although after I got my kindle it is less apparent to other people how many books I buy. And I still think it is a good thing that my kids can go to my bookshelves at any given time and find a book that fits their age and interest.
Books are the best.
Although I did have a moment some years ago during my vacation where I looked up from my current book and thought “maybe it would be fun to have a conversation that isn’t scripted..” but then it seemed like a lot of effort and I went back to my book.
One of the best presents my family gave me was to install bookshelves around the top of my bedroom walls. They used 5″ boards and brackets, spaced 8″ from the ceiling, to provide space for some of my thousands of mass market paperbacks. And when I still had too many all over the floor in stacks, they built a second and third shelf under the first, and bought me a stepladder so I could reach them! They truly understood that my books were important to me, and their thoughtfulness warms my heart even 20+ years later.
Jean-ann Stump says
Thank you so much. Now I know what to say when people comment on the piles of books around my house.
I’ve always been a Book Person.
Every birthday, books were my favorite gifts. When I was a little kiddo, my mother signed a permission form so I wasn’t limited to the children’s section of our public library. What a rush that was! Getting my driver’s license meant I was no longer limited to checking out the number of books I could carry home in my arms.
As a young adult, I took books with me everywhere and would read, even if it was for five minutes before an appointment. I kept them stuffed in my car, my purse, jacket pockets, my office desk.
Then the Kindle Keyboard came out and changed my life. I re-bought all my favorites when they came out in e-book, only retaining a small number of books in physical form, mostly big non-fiction books and a few dusty paperbacks. These days I carry my Kindle Oasis with me everywhere; it’s still a kick to have my whole library available, wherever I am.
Moderator R says
The Kindle Keyboard is the best Kindle, and I’m guarding mine like a dragon egg.
My Kindle Keyboard passed away, after many years of honorable service. But I appreciate my Kindle Oasis, as it has lovely settings for old eyes.
Gina G says
My Kindle Keyboard DX in its lovely leather case lives in a throuple relationship with my husband & I & he has never complained & always understood 🏼
Anna L says
Sadly I was forced to upgrade to second generation kindle without physical keyboard, but I love the e-ink and guard it like my precious, because I refuse to read on phone or computer. It is also great to download things like fanfiction to make sure that its backed up.
I made the mistake of gifting mine when I got my first touch. I still miss it.
Oh the permission to check out any book in the library! Boy did my librarian hate that! Weird.
My mommy only had two library rules for little brother and I:
#1) No overdue books
#2) it had to fit between my chin and my hands … in other words, if I couldn’t carry them, i could not take them home.
Bill G says
Love it; I absolutely love it!
Books and even magazines….. my weakness!! Oh yeah, and yarn……
My family insulates with books. Embarrassingly, in my 20s I actually broke up with a very nice guy because the first time I was at his place I discovered he had a TOTAL of five books and I decided we were not compatible. 🙄
That seems perfectly reasonable to me.
I second this. 😉
Speaking of my adventure of moving to Austria, my husband to be *cleaned out his bookshelf* to make room for me, during which it was discovered that he owned multiple copies of both Dune and Heart of Darkness, which just cemented the fact that I was making the right decision.
Happy Tsundoku to you and the BDH! I have practiced this art for decades…in fact I can tell you when I brought home each one of those books that sit and wait for me to be ready to read them. Some day will come for some while others will be left unread…their moment having past. But having them is a reminder of who I was when they arrived and I cherish that as much as the story they hold inside. ❤️
I’ve been horrified/saddened by the number of friends who are proudly proclaiming the achieved or almost achieved their 2022 goal of 12 books.😱😱😱 Super grateful they are trying! I’m not even sure how many books I’ve read but 12 in a month isn’t outside the realm of possibility. Libby, Kindle, Apple Books, holdables, and Audible. Thank goodness for ebooks and bookshelves!
I guess I’ll have to count this year. I really have no idea how many I read. I spent the holiday week reading and I managed 1 a day hehe. But now I need to get busy with other stuff sigh.
12 isn’t bad I know people who would be lucky to read even one book a year sometimes people have different interests not that I can talk I managed to read like 370 something books last year yup a book or more a day oops
Diane Mc. says
One of military moves the movers came in to estimate the amount of boxes. DH pointed at his shelves and said they are professional books and don’t count against the weight limit but my shelves do.
They weren’t happy and counted all of them as professional but they also mixed them all up in the boxes.
Tsundoku. Delightful. And I was (still am) so happy when the “Book Devouring Horde” name came to be. “The Value of Tsundoku, Big Think.” Another book to read. More delight. Thank you for this.
Kid got many books for Xmas.
Kid’s parents . . . used Xmas gift cards to get books.
The joys of a household created by a librarian and an English PhD/author.
Kid (12) said, “There’s nothing wrong with 3000 books in the house . . . it’s not enough!”
I’ve always said the words “enough” and “ books” do not work together.
Patricia Schlorke says
We can never have enough books. 📚
Marry the person that builds more shelves with you, and supports that third kindle in the bathroom. 10/10 recommend.
Debi Ennis Binder says
I love my Kindle Oasis and my Lenovo tablet and the many ebooks they allow me to own. But nothing feels like a proper book, the feel of the pages between my fingers, the smell of a book, the sound of pages turning (eek, I sound like an addict!). All my life, I’ve used books to escape life around me and knew I had to help my kids understand. I used a step-by-step phonetics method to teach both of them to read at age 4, so they could be just as excited as I was when I learned to read. I truly believe that anyone who makes snide remarks about my books and reading is terribly insecure and jealous. Why shouldn’t they be? I’m on my way out of here, at least until it’s time to make dinner!
Kat in NJ says
I love my Kindle (I absolutely love being able to ‘go’ to my public library at 10pm on a Sunday night to browse and borrow and read to my heart’s content!) And I love taking an extensive library with me everywhere I go.
But….physical books still mean the most to me.
I step into any library and I remember long hours seeking adventure on library shelves in summers during my childhood. I close my eyes and I can still smell the intoxicating and mysterious fragrance of old books discovered during many hours haunting used book stores. And I pull any of my oldest books from my bookshelves (Tolkien, The Little Prince, Emily Dickinson, Van Gogh’s letters to his brother etc etc etc) and upon reading I lose myself and once again become a silent transfixed witness in other worlds and lands and other times.
I love that there is a word for this, a way to name the infinite possibilities of beloved books, both read and unread. And by the way, HA, this is also why I love your books: they are a much cherished and always available magical ticket to other worlds…thank you!
Happy New Year all!
Hahaha! Very timely!
Although my family is big on reading, I seem to be the only tsundoku practitioner. Every time I move, one of the big considerations for the new place is room for books. I have had do downsize over the past 2 moves, regretfully shedding books at library donation spots, schools, and small garden library boxes. Currently, there are books in every room of the new house and storage shed. New ones still manage their way inside. And yes, there are several I have been meaning to read for quite some time.
Online books and libraries keep me from going broke and building book columns inside my house. I have to keep away from library sales because too many follow me home. There is nothing that can replace the feel and smell of a good book in ones hands.
I am such a fan of books that I took letterpress printing classes in college. It was so much fun. We were taught by a retired former pressman who collected type and presses from colleagues as moveable type was replaced by more modern printing. Setting type upside down and backwards was like a puzzle. Tying it together for a run through the press and setting shims to get spacing just right felt Zen. Then seeing what you put together come out in print? Magic. We learned bookbinding and toured other studios and collections of letterpress printing – it was the best. Some day I hope to get back to all that.
Circumstances change, I moved into a 562 sqft apartment and have learned to adjust. I have 1 bookshelf that contains cookbooks, some decorative items, tea pot & supplies, and dutch ovens for bread. I get 99.9% of the books I read from the library and keep very few actual books, Ilona Andrews is among them. I miss having lots of books but I’m comforted by knowing I can always find & borrow my favorites on Libby.
Thankfully my husband and I are both avid book lovers. Every nook, every closet, every room in our home has shelves filled with books. And now my iPhone has them in audio, my iPad in kindle. Nearly all have been read—several times. Someone dies, I look through their books, ask to take or buy what is interesting before they donate the rest. We moved, gave away many books and after settling in we slowly rebought most of them. Some are out of print and I have never found them again but after 18 years I am still looking. I will find them eventually. Books are like friends, they are solace.
my parents encouraged book hoarding. They always found money to buy my sister and I books, even when things were tight. We knew all the used book stores within an hours drive (live in a rural area) and visited them routinely. When I bought my own house I filled one of the bedrooms with bookshelves so it could be my office/library.
As it happens, I know exactly what entomophagy is, and would love to be there when that writer finds out. The whole tsundoku concept makes perfect sense to me though. I keep stuff around for reference, and still would rather hold a book in my hand than go to Wikipedia if possible.
Currently I am downsizing and figuring out what books need to stay and which can be donated. There’s a whole heap of stuff that probably nobody will want – e.g. no one wants a dead-tree encyclopedia anymore, all the baseball statistics books left by the departing ex, and so on. That will get rid of almost all the books that are not currently in bookshelves, anyway.
And except for one bedroom set, bookshelves are the only furniture I won’t consider selling or giving away when I move.
Mary Cruickshank-Peed says
The only person who tells me I have too many books and do I need all of them is my mother (well and my sisters who have their own hoarding tendencies… the less said about my one sister and her chickens the better). As I don’t live with my mother or sisters, tho, they can suck it… My husband and kids, tho… “Mom, do we have this series? There’s 27 of them!”
I had to laugh about the comments regarding the bathroom tablet. I have three tablets. The 1st one is an newer Android tablet that I use the Libby app to read with, as a pc and for social media. The 2nd Android tablet is much older and has very little memory so I use for games. The 3rd is my Fire 7 aka the toilet tablet. It’s only used for games in the bathroom, because that’s all it’s good for in my opinion lol. I’m just not a fan of that operating system. However, I have books on my reading tablet not only saved in Libby that I’ve downloaded from the library but also the books that I’ve purchased from Amazon in a Kindle app as well as a Google books app and I have numerous websites for reading books that maybe are not in my library. I am a book hoarder. I used to have paper books up the wazoo until I became disabled and had to realign my life to fit my current situation. Pretty much all of my possessions had to be gotten rid of. The one that hurt the most though was the books. I don’t think that I could live without books in one form or fashion!
Hopefully the books were snatched up by people who will treasure them.
I just bought myself another kindle Fire. I only read on it and play wordle so it is fine by me. I don’t buy books from it, and don’t try to surf the internet on it.
I had a major flood in the basement in 2013 due to a massive rainstorm. I was one of 90,000 homes impacted. The absolute worst thing? I just finished putting together bookshelves in the reading room I had made. I lost so many books. I cried. I didn’t care about the complete devastation. My books though😢😢. I took photos of every single one as I threw them out. I got most replaced but in ebook format only because I couldn’t find the paper copies. My new reading library is now on the 2nd floor. Who needs a guest bedroom?
Aunt Becky says
We moved from one state to another in May. My husband and I decided to ruthlessly go through our 12 bookcases (20 years) and donate to the local library. Yesterday and today, I typed up the list of books from the pictures, looked up retail value where I didn’t have an entry in my Amazon order list. Long day of data entry and looking up, to say we donated 8 bookcases worth at a value of $6000+. Audible and Kindle have been the primary place of purchase for my fiction since I bought a kindle 1st gen all those years ago. We do clean out bookcases every few years but apparently we had gathered a good majority of popular sets of children and young adult series over the last decade. 😀
My daughter was absolutely unable to size down her bookcases so half of the books we still have are hers.
I had a physical therapist who came to the house actually tell me I had too many books. I told her there is no such thing.
I love that word, particularly as it also reminds me of tsunami. If my bookcases ever collapsed, there would be a tsunami of books.
It’s very hard for me to discard a book, even if I meant it to go to a thrift store. If it is falling apart, I will tape it back together again. There are many bookcases in my house, all packed and around 8 of them are 6 feet tall.
I have a ridiculous number of kindle books also that number in the thousands.
And thats’s why I love you guys…🥲you get me!
I told my husband if he thinks about touching my books I’m gonna go for his nuts…and bolts in the garage. He’s a “fixer”, the only time we get new appliances is when there’s smoke.
TY for being a fellow Hoarder. I too put up with complaints from my Mother but my Dad was a big reader & defended me.
I have well over 20,000 books, PB, HC & Ebooks & thats just my keepers. Other books over the years were read & traded for new stories. 6 Floor to ceiling bookcases in bedroom, double layers per shelf (have risers). Then there is the attic.
Alas the Used Bookstores of old have disappeared in my area. I haunted them for keepers & new authors. One store had a big bay window we could sit in & chat with other hoarders. The owner even served us tea or coffee. But then our group kept her in business. She passed & no one took over. Her family donated all the books to local hospitals, nursing homes etc. So that was good.
PS I have 3 android tablets 32gb (2) 64gb, a 64 gb Fire (new) & my old Nook glow light. About 1090 books on them. Updated the tablets this year for much more space. Older tablet full, even the SD card. Oh & don’t forget my laptop. So many book apps.
LOL To this day my Daughter & now grandchildren know better than to send any gift other than a Book gift card.
Take Care House Andews
Happy New Year
Ben Lowsen says
This is hilarious.
I have probably 1500 books My MIL looked at my double stacked bookcases and said they would make great china displays I use my china for Thanksgiving and Xmas This Lady has an entire room dedicated to quilting sewing and embroidery with extra storage in the garage Different addictions You would think she could recognize mine
Winifred Stroup says
Ruth Flescher says
Who dares suggest you have too many?!?
The number of physical books I own is limited by the amount of wall space I have. Fortunately ebooks came along, so I can still buy books even though I don’t have room for more of them. (Yes, they are double shelved.)
I fell in love at first sight with the 1st Gen Kindle in 2007..Boggled my mind that I no longer had to take an extra suitcase on vacay for my books to read. It was GLORIOUS!
I loved my Keyboard, my Paperwhite, Fire was so-so…When I could finally switch to a tablet and read on the APP I found heaven, then Audible ahhh…. At last count I think I was in the 8000s for books.
My hubby laughs at me…but he knows that unless HE ABSOLUTELY needs something 2 day or next day shipped from the ‘Zon, he chooses a later ship date for the digital rewards to add to my bank for book shopping. He gets me..
If my partner doesn’t love me like this I don’t want it. Lol!!
Kristine Ten-Eyck says
thank you for this hint. I have needed something to excuse my book purchases for years, and this will do the trick. Happy new year to everyone.
my fiance gets me most of the time. This Xmas, he bought me another bookshelf for the back bedroom and jewelry because he wanted to do something different than the “book thing”.
I thanked him profusely for the jewelry (grandmother raised no fools), mentally calculating how many books he could have bought me for the price of this new resident in our safe…I would have liked the books more.
I don’t understand, I had given him a list of must haves!
Shelley R. says
@Kells, mine knows not to pick books for me and has learned it’s wise not to pick jewelry either (but he happily buys both!!!)
Shelley R. says
I’m LOL as I look around my office, with full shelves, books stacked on top of shelved books, books in piles on top of tables and shelves…scholarly, fiction, leadership, self-help, exercise, cooking… and this is only the home office. Isn’t a college professor’s office supposed to be covered in books? Proud, and enriched, book hoarder!
The article on unread books made me feel better. I won’t live long enough to read all mine and I still buy more!
Big Mike says
Received my paperback copy of Sweep of the Heart today. I had it on my Christmas list and was certain that the younger son, also a member of the BDH, would buy it for me but no luck. OTOH he brought the world’s smartest and handsomest 6 month old grandson when he and his wife came out to visit so even if I did have to order it myself, all is forgiven!
I feel seen in the absolutely best way
Steve L says
Yes so thankyou for the thousands of hours I have pent in worlds of your creation. Your hard ward and AMAZING books have enriched my life, and kept me healthy and very happy! Between yourselves, Jeannine frost, Patricia Brigs, Faith Hunter, Larry Corria etc, and my family. My life since becoming quadriplegic has been good!
I am lucky to be love. And I and can live amazing adventures over and over through my books. THANK YOU! You truly make my quality of life better.
Linda Trainor says
I know I was told by my son not to get the 4 books by Tiffany Snow out from the library any more…. as I’d had them enough what 4 rereads was not enough..
It’s all fun and games until you are having to take care of your Grandmother’s multiple bookshelves full of Harlequin romance and Blaze books. And then about half way through a sibling comments about how there are newer romance books from the past few years on another shelf.
Is this not normal? Asking for a friend 😄
Gwyn Arnold says
I have multiple kindles, plus the app loaded on my phone and tablet. Never too many books.
Years ago I saw a picture of a staircase where the riser boards had been removed so the stairs could have books shelved under them. My first thought was that I might not get all the way up the stairs.
The Kindle is good for a transportable library so I’m never without something to read if I stop for coffee (in preplague days) but nothing beats a physical book.
I do occasionally do a small weed, but it has to be in stages-pile the books, check after a few weeks to see if any should be retained, put in shopping bag, recheck after a few more weeks, then donate the remainder. Covid has screwed up friends of the Library donations though, with a few years without book fairs the local ones are restricting donations. And after my towns idiot selectmen made the library surrender the Friends donations to the general fund, the local friends disbanded.
Debra L. says
My book collection is the one reason why moving is such a pain. I also own a lot of hardcover copies because uh.. I can’t wait for paperback >.<. They are SO HEAVY though. I love the feel and smell and experience of reading a print book and I don't think I'll ever really transition to digital. My partner did because he was in the Navy and having a massive collection of e-books was easy on the ship. But he still supports my love of print copies :D.
Susan D says
Husband, “Do you really need that many books?” Me, “I only keep books I will read again.” The look on his face as he looked at my wall-to-wall bookcases was priceless. 🤣
Need more bookcases! Thanks for the article. I have always wanted my own library with one of those ladders. I even have downloaded some books to my phone thatI can read when standing in line, like at the grocery store. 😁
I had friends visiting last year. One of them said “Why do you have all those books? Are you really going to read them again?”
YES. Yes, I will reread them.
Ramona Hall says
Thank you! Posted on facebook for the enjoyment of my Friends of the Library group. First book shelves were made of found bricks and scrap wood I found in the alley behind our apartment in Chicago. Made it myself and it was the pride of my room.
Susan J says
… wait… you’re not supposed to have three Kindles?
Yay BOOKS! Whether actual factual or far-out fiction. Will never travel as far as I do in my head when a good idea is properly executed on a page! 🙂
But thank goodness for ebooks, or by now I would likely have experienced a major book-alanche, instead of just minor ones….
Ok, must admit… I DO have a Kindle just for the bathroom.
In my defense, it’s my oldest of my 3 :).
I love it!!
Also, because I use a screen reader, I originally thought the title of this post was “The Art of Son Goku”, and thought Dragon Ball Z? Seriously? This should be interesting. But the book thing is me too, so a win either way.
Yes!!!!! Yes!!!!! Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I had bookshelves wrapped all the way around my room as a child and young adult, filled with books and more just stacked wherever I could fit them. I would spend hours just sitting in bookstores, starting from when I was 5 years old all the way thru to now (about to turn 40) and I still love it. May bookstores live forever – Barnes & Nobles was my favorite hang out spot. Now, I have over 400 books on kindle and can access it from at least 4 devices so that I can get to them no matter where I am (including the BR). Books are my treasure and my gold. They make life an adventure and stir the imagination like nothing else. How many things would never have been tried or invented if they hadn’t been thought of and shared in a book? Books are the seeds of our future and are priceless!!!!
We have thousands of books. The really sad thing is that who will want them when we die? We treasure every one of them.
Susan B says
And this is one of the reasons I only buy ebooks these days – the pile is only visible on my devices. (But the physical books are still around too)
Yes! To every comment above!! I have both Kindle and paper books everywhere. I have loved reading since my fourth grade teacher introduced me to stories read aloud. My husband understood the reading but was annoyed by the extra bags for books when we traveled and the large purse to carry whatever I was read at the time, hence my first (and second) Kindle gift for Mother’s Day. Best. Gift. Ever.
Kindle has this new thing with goals for reading, numbers of books per week or month or something. They send encouraging notifications and alert me when I’ve met a goal. I just laugh mwahahaha, because I literally read every day. I don’t have a Kindle for the bathroom, because my Kindle (or current book) does not leave my side. Ever. ;). (I put the winking face, but I’m serious. I go nowhere without my preciouses).
My parents had probably a thousand books in their house. Clearing out the house was hard, but the books were the hardest. By sheer luck, I found the book my dad’s grad school advisor wrote sometime in the 1980’s, with a great note to my dad from his professor on the inside front cover. I keep it because it was important to my dad.
My books are eclectic – childhood favorites, a few college books, the sci-fi collection, and my current urban fantasy/paranormal romance series. (Multiple series by many authors.) Books are my very favorite happy places! 📚📚📚
Patricia B. says
Thank you all for a truly delightful comment section. We are the BDH and we are mighty. From bookcases that insulate a house to a shelf of kindles and anything in between, books are a lifeline and a way of life. Obviously there will never be enough shelving…..but the possibilities (like our piles of books) are endless 🙂
Martha Christina says
Oh, I loved the article! I feel represented! My parents have always loved reading (books and comic books), and us children got the same habit (in my case since I was 3 years old). I have to admit my books are quadruplestacked (Is that even a word?), and, though I have only one “Kindle” (not exactly from Amazon, it’s a model made in Brazil and sold at a specific bookstore), I find the concept of multiple ones *very* interesting – especially because I now have lots of unread ebooks. Relatives don’t really get it, and my boss once complained she couldn’t understand why I would “insist”on reading at lunchtime, but see if I care…
A happy 2023 to everyone!
Martha Christina says
Ooops, “feel”, not “fell”…
Moderator R says
Martha Christina says
Thanks, Mod R. You’re the best!
I feel heard!
I confess that I used to have to have a larger apartment, with a bedroom just for my bookshelves and books. A larger moving van, even going on vacation a large portion of my rolling suitcase would be full of books and weigh a ton.
I am so happy we have tablets now.
When I finally covered most of my books to electronic format it took 2 large, full, pickup truck bed loads to take all my old favorites to the library donation sale drop off. I know they were putting a lot of my 1st edition hard covers on eBay to sell. And after getting a look at my truck, they brought out a couple of carts and helped move everything inside. LOL
I did give them 2 cases of audio books on tape as well. They were excited about putting those into stock for people to be able to check out. Apparently they don’t get many audio books donated.
Converted, not covered.
My husband once suggested that I throw a few books out, so I looked at him and said I will happily divorce you but I am not throwing anything out because they are always there to keep me company while you are flitting around the world for business. That went down like a lead balloon but we are hitting 47 years together in march and he has never mentioned it again.
Lynn Thompson says
Thank you, mod R, for the post.
I have learned to take my kindle with me to Mother’s assorted doctor appointments during Covid pandemic. I used to take paperbacks to read in waiting rooms. Mother doesn’t read books so she always gave me a hard time about. But kindle I can pull up a logic puzzle and make her work with me. 😁. Then I read while I wait.
before Christmas I went to a book fair got talking about buying books and having room for them 😂 one of the people there told me of this person had a room just filled with book shelves full of books when they passed away the children decided to burn the house down instead of dealing with it. I also had my relatives this year ask me why I buy paperback books when I will read them 1-3 or so times then they just sit there also asked me about giving them away told them buying the books gives me pleasure that atm I’m not looking to get rid of any that may change but for now two 90lt storage tubs full of books three book cases, google play and kindle libraries on my phone lol my Tsundoku art is awesome
Ms. Kim says
I had a storage locker full of books that I tried to donate to public and University libraries. They don’t want them, no space. The University took quite a few but finally told me no more, they didn’t have space for them. So sad.
Ms. Kim says
So I still have Folio Society’s “The Babylonians”, “The Egyptians” “The Hittites” and “The Persians”. I actually can’t wait to read them and never offered them to any of the libraries. Then there is the one on the Phoenicians and the Minoans. But libraries, public and private, don’t seem to want … oh non-fiction. They don’t want non-fiction.
I’m driving my husband crazy. I won’t say how many books I have , but I’m 71, and I’ve been “collecting” from when my grandparents gave me books because they “knew” it was good for me. My husband has many books also, but I have more. Life is in the books.
Wow.. You just described me… And my family’s nagging… Your house is too small!!! Whare are you going to fit alllll thooose boooooooks???
R Coots says
This is exactly why I love my kindle so much. And why I cringe in horror when I unthinkingly told my husband that our joined Prime account lets him see the books as well.
Nobody has to know exactly how many books are on that thing.
Hurrah! The external validation I needed to prove to everyone I’m not a book addict!
Ms. Kim says
Yes, I’m looking at my bookshelves that have books on fascinating historical periods that I really want to get to … Indo Europeans, the Federalist Papers, the Peloponisian Wars, I’m really enjoying Herodotus – he was such a tall tale teller but he certainly makes all those Greek myths/history feel very plausible from a human nature perspective. The Elizabethan pirates that made way for the empire, the Braudel book on the Mediterranean that he wrote while a WWII prisoner of War of the Nazis. Even they were impressed by him and let him get on with it. Lincoln and the Railroads. I definitely want to read that. Did you know he was actually a lawyer for the railroads from time to time? As a circuit lawyer he was sometime a prosecutor, sometime a defense lawyer and sometimes a judge. Oh the books I want to read – History is fascinating.
There’s an old mystery book: Bodies in the Bookshop, that starts with the line “It was not that I needed a new book…”and goes on to describe many of the places the protagonist has piles of them. Then he goes out, visits 7 book stores leaving piles of purchases to be picked up later, gets to the 8th and finds the body.
The first sentence sold me on the book.
Yes! When we first went house-hunting, we told people we wanted 4 bedrooms, one for us, one for the baby, one for guests and one for the four computers and 1000 books. We got strange looks. We are now closer to 5000 books. (I’m a retired librarian.)
I was called a bookaholic by an ex once. I deserved it. Still haven’t changed.
Badmama Battillo says
If anyone criticizes just do my usual comment: “thfffthth” and give them a napkin to wipe up the spit! Books are necessities of life!!
Books are riches. Those days when you wander into a bookstore and everything you pick up looks intriguing and awesome are some of life’s great pleasures. The more the merrier, I say (tempered only slightly by memories of wondering whether my shipment weight allowance for the last couple of military moves would cover the growing collection – yes! Happily).
Annalee McCarthy says
I made myself a sign for my library: It’s not hoarding if it’s books.
Diana Church says
Kindle just for the bathroom? I thought I was the only one who did that! 😂 Any wonder why I love this group so much? Ya’ll are my PEOPLE!
Ms. Kim says
This! A 1000 times this. Yes.
Debi Majo says
I’ve lived in my new house for almost a year and my project for 2023 is a huge floor to ceiling bookshelf!🥰
👍. I am validating this life choice. Often multiple times per day!
Discovering Kindle Unlimited was the best thing ever. Until you realize you only have access to 500,000 of the million+ books out there. >:(
For years, I lived in a studio apartment furnished with a bed, a desk, a rocking chair, and five bookcases. Now I have a house, so I’ve added a dining table, a chaise longue, and two more bookcases. 🤓
When asked why I need all those books, I airily reply that I work in publishing—though I’m a freelance editor, and half my clients have nothing to do with books. 😉
I bought the old wood bookcases from a public library switching to metal shelves. Now I am insulating my home and heart with books! Seven-foot tall bookcases on every wall they will fit. We even call our open-space great room our library! When we moved I had 118 milkcrates of books, mostly nonfiction, classics, and scifi. I call them my savings for retirement, as in I am saving some to read in my rocking chair in my old age.
Yes, we had to buy a house with steel I-beam construction to support the weight. Priorities! I read about 300 books a year. Planning for retirement is important. Laughing!
I thought this was your take on some new sort of Sudoku. This just goes to show how many different interests I can develop when I should correct my stack of English Essays…
Sudoku and Tsundoku both seem captivating right now.
Yes! This is my tribe! I started really reading in the 3rd grade when I found a box of old books in the basement. Used to carry home 10 at a time on a Friday and have them all done by the end of the weekend when I was older. Nowadays, thank you Texas for the Central Texas Digital Consortium. Could not have made it through Covid without them. May we never have an end to paper books.
LOL this is literally my life. Buying too many books either at bookstores or browsing every little free library I come across. I keep meaning to stop bringing them home and reading the ones I already have but I keep finding ones that look so good! I’m irrationally afraid I will never find it somewhere else (especially if it’s not a new release). You all understand me at least.
Wondering if there are plans for the 2nd Iron Covenant book this year?
Moderator R says
There will be no announcement of projects until they are done and ready for preorder 🙂 – here for more details on the decision https://www.ilona-andrews.com/2022/on-being-difficult/
Melisa M. says
Ilona, you have spoken to all of our souls! lol
We’re all bibliophiles here, but can your house hold 500,000 books? There was an episode on the A&E show Hoarders (S5, E10) where this couple could not walk tgrough their home. There were stacks all the way up to the ceiling of books and books. A sad story as you could tell they truly loved books.
Thank goodness for e-readers. Now, to go fill my Kindle with more books…
So you understand the pain when the punishment for bad behavior as a child was being grounded and not allowed to go to the library. I could go anywhere else, just not there. Unrelated side note, will there ever be a short story relating to Orro’s sojourn with Marais?
Speaks to the book lover’s heart! Currently surrounded by boxes of books which is going thru a painful downsizing process, as space does not permit.
Had fun collecting more TBR in my local indie bookstore that and confirmed the Bad Romance bookclub that meets there selected Burn for Me for March! (they alternate newer with older 1st in a series) Excited to see one of my favorite Ilona Andrews’ books picked! (they’re all my favorites) Old Town Books in Alexandria VA for the win
Book Hoarding is an art. Especially when there are 3 people in the same household trying to see who can die with the biggest hoard. My husband came in 3rd. pretty sure The Spawn will beat us both.
There is no such thing as too many books.