Consider this a service from one reader to another. Although in the abstract the concept of too many books may seem nonsensical (like "too much oxygen"), be forewarned that there is a definite threshold beyond which further accumulation of books can be detrimental. In some cases, it may ruin your life.
It is often difficult to judge for yourself if you have too many books. In fact, one of the most insiduous things about the overaccumulation of books is that you are often not aware that you have a problem until it is too late.
In this spirit, I have pieced together a list of warning signs to help you judge if you have a problem. I ask that you read this list with a sober, sincere eye. And for God’s sake, don’t spend too long reading this list, because that stack of books behind your computer isn’t going to read itself.
- You have more than one book on helping you cope with having lots of books
- None of them are read
- You earnestly believe you will one day finish your TBR pile (note: denial is a hallmark of addiction)
- You have purchased more than one copy of War and Peace (Proust, Don Quixote, etc) under the logic that you "want to compare the translations"
- You awake from one of those dreams where you try to run but don’t get anywhere to find yourself on your couch with a cup of steaming coffee in one hand and a book from the TBR pile in the other
- You’re bothered that your local bookstore doesn’t put books on remainder quickly enough to keep up with you
- You gleefully post pictures of your unread books on the internet
- There are stacks of books in your bathroom
- You stacked them there "temporarily" six months ago
- Books have replaced everyday objects in your house. For example: After setting the tea kettle down on an old paperback to keep it from burning the piece of partacle-board you have placed on top of several stacks of books, you walk over and sit down on some cushions you have arranged atop several boxes of books and recline with a new purchase from your local indie.
- You rationalize "With eBay, how can I afford not to buy so many books?"