In my July 6th post I told how I was buried under an avalanche of books, that my purchasing was outgaining my reading by 234 books. Five days later I shared what I purchased at a recent book sale and wondered what disease I had. I was not a compulsive buyer of books, though it seems that way, but I am not. Honest.
What I discovered subsequent to that post is that a bibliophile is a lover of books. However, a bibliophile can quench his lust in a library without buying books. No what I am is a book collector. Some people bring home stray cats and give them a home. When you consider the cost of a litter box, bowls for food and water, shots, cat food and assorted accoutrements, you are better off bringing home stray books and give them a warm home.
Years ago I read Bernard Malamud’s “The Natural” and that book has disappeared. It may have been a runaway. I hope it has found a nice home. But I now have two copies. One is a small 1952 Dell paperback purchased because of the cover, a painting by Bill George, on the left, and a 1966 edition from Time Life, cover art by Karl Stucklin on the right, purchased because of an introduction by Robert Angell, Hall of Fame baseball writer.
I collect fiction, non-fiction, whatever captures my eye and my lust.
In the book “The Man who Loved Books Two Much” by Allison Hoover Bartlett, Walter Benjamin is quoted, “Ownership is the most intimate relationship that one can have to objects. Not that they come alive in him; it is he who comes alive in them.” I must admit when purchasing books I get a bit of a high, that coming alive feeling. I love reading the copyright page where you find what edition the book is, which printing it is. I love reading the first paragraph, flipping through the pages, and of course, the cover art.
Other books about the insanity are:
A Gentle Madness by Nicholas Basbanes
To Have and To Hold by Philipp Blom
Anatomy of Bibliomania by Holbrook Jackson
Collecting: An Unruly Passion by Werner Muensterberger
If there is a cure, I don’t want to know about it. I am content.