Can we really read them all?

4 02 2008

I’m not feeling well today, so I’m just going to make a short post. Working in a bookstore, I see every week all the books publishers hope our customers will want to buy. Just in terms of history and the Civil War (one of the sections I’m in charge of), there are so many books that come out, I wonder how people are supposed to keep up.

In the past couple of weeks, at least three or four new books on Lincoln have come out, and as I posted earlier, at least two of those are on the Lincoln-Douglas debates. I bought both of those, but nothing else. I’m in the process of putting my books on the computer in a spreadsheet, so not only will I know what I have (so I don’t repeat buy) but also so I can figure replacement costs should I lose them. The sad truth is I would have to live three lifetimes with nothing else to do before I would ever be able to read all the books I have. I have just over 100 books on Lincoln alone! I probably have twice that many on various battles and other aspects of the Civil War, and I imagine most of those will go unread.

It’s not like I haven’t tried. Last year in June I made a pact with myself that I wasn’t going to buy any more books, and I was going to start reading the ones I have. That lasted two months. Right now, I’m reading five books (physically reading four, listening to one) and I’m not getting too far in any of them. In addition, I have a year’s worth of Harpers Magazine and about six months of the Atlantic to read, not to mention four months of North and South.

I’m beginning to think I have a serious problem.

“Hi, my name is Rob, and I’m a bookaholic!”




4 responses

8 02 2008
Mike Peters


My wife once asked why I was buying another book on the CW. “What else is there to learn?” And then she follows with, “Besides you can’t read them all.”

My response was that many were there for reference purposes. She didn’t buy it. But I did.

I’ll be your sponsor & look for you at the next meeting of Bibilophiles Anonymous.



8 02 2008
Rob Wick


I was planning to go to the next meeting until I heard it was located next to a bookstore! My wife has pretty well given up on trying to get me to stop buying books, but that’s OK because I don’t say anything about her buying fabric.


21 02 2008
Kurt Cruppenink

Do you have a problem that sounds familiar to me? Yes! But isn’t it a wonderful problem? We’re like Burgess Meredith in that Twilight Zone episode, only seeking peace so we can read. I’ve been this way since like five so there’s no turning back for me. Of course if your tastes happen to turn antiquarian you may find much more time being single. I hope I had a prenupt on my books. Good luck guys.

22 02 2008
Rob Wick


Of course, I have more than one pair of glasses, so I won’t have Meredith’s problem. I’ve never really cared about collecting books for the sake of collecting. The most I’ve ever paid for a Civil War book was, ironically, for Randall’s Constitutional Problems Under Lincoln, which I paid $75 for. But even then, it was because I wanted to be able to read it. Although, I once almost paid $250 for an original “Loyal West Virginia” but the binding was shot. Talk about your marital arguments!


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