THE PLOT OR PREMISE:
A mixed-tone argument that you can be "addicted" to reading and owning books, with some examples of book hoarders of 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,
- the 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:
A well-researched book full of age-old biblioholics and their little anecdotes, but the choice to both treat it as a real disease and make fun of it loses the reader quickly. 2.0 lilypads out of 5.0, buoyed slightly by the humour lists.
- Source: Library
- Original date of review: February 2001, Updated 2011
- Tags: Historical, Non-fiction, Prose, Psychology, Self-help