ConversazioniBook Collectors

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Ago 2, 2016, 10:51am

When does it get to be too much? I'm perfectly happy with books in every room, but it seems to put some people out. Where's the happy medium and how do you compromise with your non-bookish soul mate?

Ago 2, 2016, 10:55am

Fortunately my husband indulges me, in large part because he grew up in a house where his mother did the same thing. We have 33 bookcases in the house, and books in every room except the bathrooms. We even have a bookcase on the starcase landing. For once, the books are nicely organized, because we just had 5 houseguests so I really had to buckle down and make room for the airbeds!

My sci-fi is all alphabetized and really well-organized. The rest of my books not organized well, but at least look neat upon the shelves.

Ago 2, 2016, 11:28am

Will the front door still open? If so, it's not too much.

Ago 2, 2016, 11:31am

I think it's too much when the books impede everyday activities, like cooking, tidying or just moving around the house. At that point, however much you love them, there's an element of them oppressing you as well.

There was a couple featured in Hoarders who had an incredible number of books - several hundred thousand (it was a big house). They had to walk sideways through their rooms and were continuously at risk of the towering piles toppling over. http://heydontjudgeme.com/2012/03/06/hoarders-5-10-anna-claire-vance/

Ago 2, 2016, 11:41am

We're not that far gone yet. When I get to the point of tripping over them like Hermione in Bathilda Bagshot's house, I'll know it's time to ask for help. :)

Ago 2, 2016, 2:07pm

Guess I'm in trouble. I'm dating (and probably going to marry) a librarian... So there will never be such thing as too many books, unless we can't do anything else. :)

Ago 2, 2016, 5:04pm

If you can or have cataloged your books in LT, you probably don't have too many. If that seems too overwhelming, you might have too many.

We have cataloged all of our 8,300+ books in our 1,100 sq. ft. home. Many books are boxed or back-shelved unfortunately.

Are your books organized and displayed nicely? Can you prepare your home for guests in a day or so of work? If so, you are probably still OK. It is frustrating when I know that we have a book but it is not where I expect it. I began cataloging before I saw advice for using tags to identify a location. We still don't have a location or shelf mark field.

To many, being a "book collector" is akin to being a museum curator. You select and add items which fit your acquisition goals. Perhaps you are trying to get all of the works by an author or artist or books on a theme. Some collect multiple editions and formats of a given title.

Hoarding is a clinical condition and I'm not authorized to define its boundaries. Like many things, it is something of a spectrum. If you get books just because they are books or if the quantity of books prevents you from comfortably having guests, then you might want to evaluate if you have too many.


Ago 3, 2016, 12:55pm

>7 Keeline:

Good "guidelines"!

Until two weeks ago, we weren't able to easily get ready for houseguests, but we just had 5 guests stay with us for 3 days. After a frantic flurry of cleaning and re-organizing, we were finally ready! Of course, there were/are books in every room, but they were finally neat and mostly organized. It's a glorious feeling!

Now I just have to keep it up.....

Giu 22, 2017, 3:08pm

Some famous book hoarders. At my rate I may break into the top ten some day. http://lithub.com/10-famous-book-hoarders/

Modificato: Giu 28, 2017, 2:28pm

Questo messaggio è stato cancellato dall'autore.

Giu 19, 2019, 12:14pm

Something to aspire to. This man's collection makes mine look small. https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/a-library-of-one-s-own-meet-the-man-...

Set 23, 2019, 3:51pm

One can never have too many books. One may not have enough space, however, but never too many books.

Our library/book collection is scattered around a bit: some in the house on shelves, others in stacks on tables, etc., some are in storage for lack of room in the house. Some have been catalogued and some have not; it is a continuing process as is acquisition.

We are not hoarders; rather, we are bibliomaniacs. And proud of it!

Dic 17, 2019, 1:23pm

>12 Glacierman: Glacierman: Wow! My exact opinion. Nice to see there are other people who see it like that!

Dic 17, 2019, 5:37pm

well . . . the 16K books I have on LT might not be "too many" BUT I'm told the 5 or 6 thousand dupes are unnecessary. In my old age, I probably agree. I have sold a thousand or so this year and given away a thousand more and I can't say that I miss many of them (yeah . . . I did reconstitute the BAF collection for the Carter intros (which I missed) despite having the titles in cloth edns.) The wife has been kind enough to give me all the space I need, however begrudgingly, but my reading is slowing down and I'm pretty sure I can comfortably get down to 10K volumes of stuff I really love.

Apr 24, 2020, 10:25pm

You may be surprised at what ruthless weeders librarians can be.

Modificato: Lug 25, 2020, 10:10am

I've been weeding during the lockdown and managed to get 12 boxes or more out the door - mostly donated to the local library for their annual sale. That managed to get *most* of the piles up off the floors. But not quite all.

And I have at least three bookcases in every room of the house, including the bath. Well, the upstairs corridor only has two, because there are only two walls.

Now I'm in the process of moving myself to another state to be closer to children and grandchildren. And I look around, trying to figure how this will all fit in the new smaller house I'm buying. There will have to be some hard choices made.

There is one built-in case in the new house, and my collection of classic children's literature is already boxed and ready for that space. It's in the dormer bedroom where the grands will stay when they visit. Perfect!

The very first project is to have more shelving built in the living room. SIL has already committed to the task. That should absorb two Billy's worth of books.

None of the white laminate shelving is being moved. Well, maybe I'll take the three short cases. They might be used in the basement. But the four 6 foot cases will be discarded. I know for sure only four of the best bookcases will be moved. And daughter has already claimed one long home-built shelf, AND ITS CONTENTS, for her own home. That leaves 8 mid-sized cases and contents in limbo.

And lets not even consider what might still be in the garage attic.

Yeah, I'm a hoarder. I'd say I've read about half of my collection.

Lug 25, 2020, 5:57pm

Collectors know what they own, hoarders do not.
I know exactly what books I own ;-)

Lug 28, 2020, 11:51am

I know that I have stacks of books behind my bedroom door. They are catalogued, but they are also hoarded.

Lug 29, 2020, 9:07pm

Collectors have a collection: focused on a specific theme.
Hoarders have book accumulations: no unifying theme, topic & genres all over the place.

I have both collections and an accumulation. That which is not part of a collection belongs to the accumulation.

Ago 13, 2020, 9:38am

Makes me so mad to see the “weeding of classics and notable authors! The weeders do so with a certain glee. Judy K

Modificato: Ago 13, 2020, 9:40am

Sounds as though you should take ALL your bookcases! Judy K

Modificato: Ago 13, 2020, 10:39am

>20 Glacierman:

Collectors have a collection: focused on a specific theme.
Hoarders have book accumulations: no unifying theme, topic & genres all over the place.

Many people are capable of being interested in more than one thing, many people read in many genres, categories etc. I would leave the judgements on whether a given set of books is a randomly assembled "hoard" or a collection reflecting interests and patterns not easily discernible to the outsider entirely to the owner.

Life itself can be a "unifying theme" of a private library.

Ago 13, 2020, 11:15am

I have many collections and sub-collections, sometimes interrelated. But I also have a little bit of hoarding going on too, sometimes connected to making myself feel better. It substitutes for almost 30 yrs of professional book-buying and bookstore managing, which I miss. I'm glad to be retired but I still miss it. It's ingrained now.

Ago 13, 2020, 12:15pm

It's probably impossible to arrive at a singular definition of "hoarding" that would cover everyone's habits. For my own purposes, I'd say I'm "hoarding" those books I've read/used and still keep although I'm not envisaging reading or needing them again. However, they are not randomly acquired and the reasons I'm reluctant to part with them are rational--they may have special aesthetic or sentimental value, be a part of some collection (physical or intellectual) I'm loath to break up etc.

Also, the only reason I think of them currently as "hoarded" is because I lack the physical space for comfortable housing of my entire library. One more room of shelving and I wouldn't feel the need to refer to them as hoarded.

Ago 14, 2020, 1:45pm

I've had lots over my livetime, but a move every15 years or so enabled me to "purge" and regenerate. Now I'm just keeping the few near and dear to me (Oz books, Neville Shute, and fiction about West Point/ West Pointers). Figuring I don't have too many years left on this "vale of tears", I'm emptying the shelves again. Wife and kids are readers but not obsessed with "possession" i.e. they read and discard, so they all gotta go.

Many eBay sales during the pandemic has "paid off". Aside from my prized ones in my LT catalog, I may have only have a hundred or so to "dump". Then on the all the tools in my workshop and garage.