Surrounded by a Sea of Books
Several years ago I wrote a column titled “Confessions of a Bookaholic” (Naval History, October 1997). The thrust of it was that I have a serious addiction, and I included several symptoms of my condition, such as, “You know you’re a bookaholic when you bring home a volume from the used-book store and discover you had already bought a copy of the same book somewhere else some years earlier.” Or you hear yourself saying, “No, I haven’t read that one yet, but I’m going to get around to it one of these days [weeks, months, years].” Or, “Yes, I know I’ve got that book, but I can’t exactly lay my hands on it at the moment.”
One Naval History reader was kind enough to send in an additional symptom: You visit someone’s house and mentally calculate where you would put in more bookshelves if you lived there.
My brother Mark suggested a palliative: “There’s a halfway-house program that could help you with your problem.”
Unwittingly, I played straight man by asking, “What is that?”
“It’s called a library,” he said.