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Old 07-16-2017   #1
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I present this as cautionary tale. If anyone wants to append their own story, I would appreciate it.

My landlady has been surprisingly tolerant of the state of my apartment, which at times has resembled a book storeroom in extreme disarray. However, she recently got insurance with a company that does inspections. (One of the pleasures of renting is periodically having strangers in your place "inspecting.") A couple of years ago the inspectors expressed some concern to her about my apartment, and she mentioned it to me, but it didn't seem like a crisis and she stopped talking about it, so I just tidied and organized a bit and then lapsed back into my lazy ways. My book-buying continued apace.

Last week the insurance company scheduled another building inspection for this coming Wednesday. Cue landlady freak-out, which she passed on to me. She told me my books are a fire hazard, so I wouldn't pass inspection. She insisted on scheduling a time for herself and a couple of her employees to come to my apartment to "help." She suggested hauling a load of books to the public library for donation. I said that I had spent money on the books and still wanted most of them. So she was going to bring boxes, as if just boxing them up would be a solution. I pointed out that there was no remaining space in my apartment to put boxes, and that was the wrong answer. So, trying to be cooperative, I said I could rent a storage unit. (This would be my second storage unit; I already rent a 10x5 one that is mostly full.)

She brightened considerably at my mention of a storage unit, and she and her employees were going to show up on Saturday to haul books. Quickly I considered: which books do I not want taken away? I started secreting books here and there, to keep them away from my landlady and her minions. And the piles of books on my upholstered furniture (which she especially didn't like) started to look more manageable. Hmm... There was a small corner-space between two bookshelf units in the bedroom. I knew I could maneuver some books one by one through the opening between the shelf units and stack them there. To my amazement, I got four chest-high stacks of books in there (held in place by the walls and the shelf units on either side), hundreds of books stacked like bricks in that corner. My upholstered furniture was free of books. And I tidied the rest of the apartment, managing to clear other bits of space here and there as I moved books to unlikely nooks and crannies.

I told my landlady that I thought my apartment was ready for the insurance inspection. I could tell she didn't believe me, but she showed up, took a quick look, and immediately said it was okay. She really is quite tolerant. Apparently books are not combustible when they are in less conspicuous locations.

On the plus side, I have regained the use of my upholstered furniture and don't have to use a fold-up lawn chair to sit on. However, I still must unfold a "tailgating" table in my kitchen for desk space when needed (that is, when my ironing board isn't sufficient).

And I currently have three books on order which I will pick up at the post office later this week, after the inspection.
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Old 07-16-2017   #2
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Re: Book Hoarding

I never liked the phrase "book hoarding". One does not hoard books. One collects, or even fosters them. I wish purchasing a house was an option for you, but I am glad you seem to have found at least a temporary solution.

"The world is indeed comic, but the joke is on mankind." - H. P. Lovecraft
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Old 07-16-2017   #3
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Re: Book Hoarding

Yes, books have real value (to us, at least) and therefore are not hoarded.

Hoarding is the over-the-top accumulation of worthless crap. Trash is hoarded. Food is hoarded (blech!). Many things can be hoarded, but books are collected.

I'm only half kidding. Hey Gveranon, how about some photos of your treasures? I love seeing people's libraries, especially when they have great taste, as you undoubtedly do.

Put your faith in God; he won't expect you.
Put your faith in death, because it's free.
If you believe in nothing, honey, it believes in you.
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Old 07-16-2017   #4
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Re: Book Hoarding

I sold the vast majority of my books, which were mostly works of philosophy. I'm emotionally attached to probably a mere dozen of the books I currently own, one of which is a signed copy of Grimscribe.

"In a less scientific age, he would have been a devil-worshipper, a partaker in the abominations of the Black Mass; or would have given himself to the study and practice of sorcery. His was a religious soul that had failed to find good in the scheme of things; and lacking it, was impelled to make of evil itself an object of secret reverence."

~ Clark Ashton Smith, "The Devotee of Evil"
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Old 07-16-2017   #5
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Re: Book Hoarding

Yes, there is book collecting and there is...magazine hoarding.

I recently read where a guy was missing and finally found buried in his apartment under a ton of flesh mags he had collected over decades. Hell of a way to die...not that it matters in the least once you buy it.

Maybe he died with a smile on his face. Who knows?

Man, I hope there were some biker chick mags in that avalanche.
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Old 07-16-2017   #6
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Re: Book Hoarding

I've never seen an episode of Hoarders where someone had too many books - it's usually garbage and dead cat skeleta.
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Old 07-16-2017   #7
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Re: Book Hoarding

Quote Originally Posted by Druidic View Post
Yes, there is book collecting and there is...magazine hoarding.

I recently read where a guy was missing and finally found buried in his apartment under a ton of flesh mags he had collected over decades. Hell of a way to die...not that it matters in the least once you buy it.

Maybe he died with a smile on his face. Who knows?

Man, I hope there were some biker chick mags in that avalanche.
I just assumed most unexpected deaths are accompanied by a great deal of embarrassment on the part of the survivors. All the dirty secrets are out.

"In a less scientific age, he would have been a devil-worshipper, a partaker in the abominations of the Black Mass; or would have given himself to the study and practice of sorcery. His was a religious soul that had failed to find good in the scheme of things; and lacking it, was impelled to make of evil itself an object of secret reverence."

~ Clark Ashton Smith, "The Devotee of Evil"
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Old 07-16-2017   #8
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Re: Book Hoarding

Hey, Mr. Veech! It doesn't bother the dead. That's the essential thing, I think.
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Old 07-16-2017   #9
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Re: Book Hoarding

A book hoarder is someone that doesn't have enough money to buy a house and dedicate a room to a personal library. Clive Barker was like this until he got rich. The same with Del Toro. And there are plenty of others. I know where you're coming from, gveranon. I initially solved my problem by renting a mid-sized storage unit. That worked until one of my stints in the hospital in which I was unconscious for almost a month and I missed a payment. They foreclosed on my unit and got rid of all my books. The good news is, with the exception of a few of them, I couldn't care less. It was like a weight had been lifted. And with the money I have saved since, I could buy them all over again if I wanted to. I still have plenty of boxes of books, but I could do without most of them. I prefer kindle books now. Each physical book that I buy has to be more than mere text. I'll buy an Egaeus volume on occasion, for example, because they are works of art in themselves.

Last edited by bendk; 07-17-2017 at 05:40 AM..
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Old 07-16-2017   #10
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Re: Book Hoarding

I hate the term "book hoarding," too, but I'm aware of what my place would look like to anyone who isn't a bibiliomaniac. (Is bibliomania a better term? It still carries a whiff of pathology.)

I googled books and "fire hazard" and found that it's a common view that clutter is a fire hazard, and books=clutter. The old-fashioned notion that "books do furnish a room" is giving way to the notion that books are hazardous household clutter to be eliminated. But books don't spontaneously combust. A list of actual fire hazards would include cooking, electrical wiring, smoking, candles, fireworks, fireplaces, furnaces, etc.--most of which would still be popular among bibliophobes.

Kevin, I've thought of posting pictures, but honestly I'm too ashamed of the way my apartment looks (even after my frantic clean-up and rearrangement) to showcase any part of it online. I love seeing pictures of others' messy rooms full of books, but I shrink from the thought of revealing mine.

bendk, I've recently been buying more ebooks; otherwise, my apartment situation would be even worse. I have about 500 ebooks in my Amazon cloud library. And I've even read some of them.
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