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Finding co-obsessives

Okay, it’s time to come clean on an obsession. But I have to thank Sam at Book Chase for leading me to this column by David McKie in The Guardian for giving me the courage. It came came only because they showed me I am not alone.

My (our) obsession? Whenever I see pictures of bookcases in newspapers, magazines and the like, I am compelled to attempt to decipher the titles of the books. In fact, my fascination has gone so far to lead me to pause DVDs (usually documentaries) to see what books are on the shelves in the background.

Like my fellow addicts, I seem to think seeing what books a person owns tells me more about that person. The basis for my belief? If you look at the overflowing bookshelves in my house, I think it would be impossible not to come away with an idea of the topics that interest me, particularly since I am one of those who tends to winnow out various books as shelf space decreases. That means that the books you see are likely to be the ones I found most important to me.

So, if you ever see me with my head perpendicular to the normal alignment of a a newspaper or magazine, I’m likely snooping in someone’s bookcase.


When a book and a head collide and a hollow sound is heard, must it always have come from the book?

Georg Lichtenberg, The Waste Books

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