Plot or Premise
A mixed-tone argument that you can be “addicted” to reading and owning books, with some examples of book hoarders from years-gone-by.
What I Liked
There are some really good “humour” lists, kind of like a Letterman top ten list for:
- Moving when you have a lot of books;
- A Biblioholic’s test (how big is your problem);
- The snobbish Discovery Index (I knew the author when..);
- Reading in restaurants;
- Latin explanations of literary taste: “De gustibus non est disputandum” — Everyone to their own non-disputable tastes; and,
- Ten Commandments for the Book Handler.
What I Didn’t Like
The author can’t seem to decide what the book is — a light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek ode to book hoarders everywhere or a serious tome about an actual mental illness. The book starts out with a light-hearted look at those who feel an overwhelming urge to buy books i.e., “biblioholics”. By the end, however, he treats it like a real mental illness that requires awareness and treatment. Either approach could work, but bouncing between one and the other wears out really fast. Perhaps this would have been better as a collection of small articles for a small newspaper, and even then, in dire need of an editor to give it better focus and less repetition. But even in a series of newspaper articles, I suspect the reader would tire of the subject matter very quickly — the metaphor is dragged out far past its prime.
The Bottom Line
Well-researched but yawn.