Friday, May 11, 2012

Literary Musings: Bibliophile or Bibliomaniac?

I haven't done a literary musing i a great while, so I figured it was time to do so again.

First of all, I'd like to discuss the word "bibliophile".  There are bibliophiles and bibliomanes, or bibliomaniacs.  What's the difference, if any? 

A bibliophile, according to The Free Online Dictionary, is "1.) a lover of books", and "2.) a collector of books".   These definitions include all of us who read and blog about books, naturally.  Now let's look at the definition of "bibliomaniac".  According to the same source, the noun form, "bibliomania" is "An exaggerated preoccupation with the acquisition and ownership of books".   

My desire to own books has grown to such proportions that I really can't call myself a "bibliophile".   No, indeed!  I constantly hunger for these precious objects, in spite of the fact that my humongous piles of books are threatening to overrun the house.  I no longer go to the public library, because it's simply too painful for me to read a book, fall in love with it, and then have to return it...

My husband, the poor soul, no longer stares disbelievingly at me when I request that he drop me off at Barnes & Noble while he goes to the gym.  This is in spite of the fact that he knows I can't go to a bookstore without coming out with at least one book.  

There's a long history to the acquisition and collecting of books, and it's detailed in the following work.  I happen to own it, and firmly believe it should be on every raving book fiend' lover's properly bulging shelves.  

 Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Passion for Books
Hardcover, 638 pages
Henry Holt and Company
August 15, 1995

From the Goodreads Synopsis

The passion to possess books has never been more widespread than it is today; indeed, obsessive book collecting remains the only hobby to have a disease named after it. A Gentle Madness is an adventure among the afflicted. Richly anecdotal and fully documented, it combines the perspective of historical research with the immediacy of investigative journalism. Above all, it is a celebration of books and the people who have revered, gathered, and preserved them over the centuries.

Here are some pics of my own
humongous collection!

These are on the night table next to my bed.
There are also some books on the
headboard, which is partially visible
behind the pillow.

This is a partial view of my bedroom shelves!

These are right on top of my bedroom dresser.

True Confessions Time!!

So, how obsessed about books are you?  Do your own shelves look anything like mine?  Have any of your family members (non-bookworms, of course) despaired of ever getting you to stop buying books, or reading them in the middle of dinner?  Have you ever missed out on a hot date because you simply couldn't put down a book you were hooked on?  Do you rent public storage space to house part of your incredibly large collection? 

In other words... 

Do you consider yourself
a bibliophile,
or a bibliomaniac?


  1. Oh my gosh, it feels like this post was written for me! I'm a total bibliophile AND bibliomanic! Last year, it even got to the point where my mom banned me from buying books because I bought so many (and because I read them at dinner, but really who doesn't LOL?)! x) Now she's a little more lenient since I'm a book blogger and buying books is a must, but if I still didn't have the library, I would be BROKE :')

    (Although I still have a habit of buying books I've already read just to have them on my shelf LOL... it's a curse!)

    I love this post so much, Maria!!! Thank you so much for posting this -- I just LOVE the idea! <3

    1. Hey, Mimi!

      Yeah, I remember all the times my mom nagged me about not buying any more books...Lol. Now it's hubby who does the nagging, although he's mostly given it up! I'm glad your mom is now more lenient because you're a book blogger. It's a good thing you started blogging about books!

      OMG! What you've said about buying books you've already read, just to have them on your shelf -- that's EXACTLY what I do!! And hey, I think it's a WONDERFUL "curse"!

      I'm SO happy you enjoyed this post!! You're very welcome for it! And thank YOU for such a SUPER nice, funny comment!!! :D

  2. Ha ha, well I am trying to stay in the bibliophile realm. I do not buy any physical books because I can't stand clutter, while I don't think books are clutter, I can't store all of them, well I could but I don't like looking at stacks and stacks of books. I know a little OCD...what can I say, cleanlimess gene. My husband wouldn't be as patient as yours is if I had piles of books everywhere. Now ebooks on the other hand. I can store 3000 on my kindle, all,of that in one tiny little device! Score and I have them all with me and it isn't heavy. Interesting article thanks for snaring :)

    1. Hey, Heidi!

      Yeah, I've tried to "stay in the bibliophile realm" myself, but it's just impossible... I can't stand the thought of reading on a Kindle or Nook. I know how convenient it is to store thousands of books on a small machine, but you see, I love books as objects in themselves. So I love to surround myself with them. I also love to touch them, turn the pages (as opposed to scrolling endlessly), smell the paper, and just know that I am the sole owner of this wonderful, beautiful object! You see how obsessed I am? Lol.

      You might have noticed that I don't review or showcase ebooks on this blog. I'm not planning to ever do so, either! (evil laugh)

      From time to time, my husband does get a bit upset by all the book stacks, and we do argue. But then the whole thing blows over somehow... I guess he's resigned to the situation. Besides, I tolerated his smoking CIGARS, and inside the house, mind you, for years. Now he "vapes", thank God! (In case you're not familiar with this, it's "smoking" electronic cigarettes or cigars. What comes out is water vapor, not smoke. They do contain nicotine, though.)

      Anyway, thanks for visiting and complimenting the post!! You're super nice!! : )

  3. +JMJ+

    Maria, my jaw dropped at the sight of your collection! I don't think I could describe myself as a bibliomaniac next to you!

    A friend of mine who is a part-time librarian says that sometimes he loves books more than he loves reading. I totally understand what he means. I'm not always in the mood to read, but I don't feel right unless I'm surrounded by a lot of books.

    1. Hi, Enbrethiliel!

      Your jaw dropped? You've only seen about a third of my collection! Lol.

      About what your friend says...hmmm, guess I'll have to agree. And agree with you as well. It's true -- sometimes I'm really not in the mood for reading, but I still like to have a book, or several books, around me. That's why I always take a book with me, everywhere I go. It's just reassuring to me. That's also why I could NEVER buy a Kindle, although I realize you can put thousands of books on this little machine. But it wouldn't be the same AT ALL. I can't see myself toting a Kindle around. UGH!!

      Thanks for commenting!! : )


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