I have a confession to make – I am a biblioholic.
I am addicted to bibliohol.
Actually, I’m addicted to books.
And my habit is getting out of control.
My house is now full of books that I have only partially read or begun to read. And despite having enough books to erect my own paper Roman fort in my living room, I just keep adding to the pile. Like the Sorcerer’s apprentice, as soon as I finish a book two more spring up in its place, because I can’t stop collecting them.
It doesn’t matter what the genre is, either … my thirst knows no bounds. Herodotus’s Histories, bought after I saw The English Patient? Sun Tzu’s Art Of War? Thomas Piketty’s Capital In The 21st Century? The unauthorised story of Motley Crue? Errol Flynn’s My Wicked, Wicked Ways? Sci-fi? Zen? Game Of Thrones? Inspirational bios by dudes with no legs?
From the finest bibliographic burgundy to cut-price goon, there’s all lying around, waiting to be imbibed.
And I never seem to ever get the pile down. I’ve thrown out more books from the great Western literary canon than you’ve had hot dinners. I’ve turfed out more Australian political leaders in a fit of pique than either Labor or the Libs.
Yet more books keep coming, mostly because I have trouble walking past a bookshop without stopping to peruse its wares (why, sometimes you can find me there at 9am as soon as they open).
Part of me knows I’m never going to read a 700-page opus on the ills of modern capitalism. Part of me realises that I’m never going to go back to The Lord Of The Rings, read Wolf Hall, Stephen King’s IT or I Am Pilgrim again or peruse The Slap once more. And I have as much a chance of reading The Iliad in the original Greek as I do of taking up the violin in homage to my childhood hero, Sherlock Holmes.
But it’s just so hard to know where to begin the cull. As soon as you pick up a book to throw out, they seem to fight for their lives. They tease you that you might just read them again one day, even though wading through that last Antony Beevor war book seemed to go on longer than D-Day. So you hang onto them, in the oft-chance you will wake up one morning and be in the mood for Harry Potter, High Fidelity, Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance or How To Avoid Huge Ships.
Sometimes I feel pangs of shame at my choice of material. I once devoured The 4-Hour Work Week like a four-dollar bottle of wine. And I read the Country Women’s Association Cook Book in a dentist’s office because I just HAD to read something.
Why, once when I was at the airport, I read The Da Vinci Code – and ENJOYED IT.
When you start buying books at airports, perhaps it’s time to admit that you have a problem.
OK, so maybe reading lots of books – some of dubious quality – isn’t such a bad problem to have. Maybe I just need a literary intervention, for someone to come in and throw out the old to make way for the new.
And maybe The Iliad is a good place to start the cull. Or The Slap.
Because I’ve already seen them on TV.
But I will always hang onto my copy of How To Survive A Garden Gnome Attack.
My ebook military thriller, The Spartan, is out now on Amazon.