Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Reading or Hoarding?

I was pretty excited after recently having my first surgery ever, because surgery means recuperation, and recuperation equals guilt free days of reading, writing, and generally hanging out. It didn't work out as planned. Why? Painkiller brain melt. Writing? Forget about it. Reading? Only in the lucid moments. So what did I do? Yep, I pretty much just watched TV.

I don't generally watch much TV, but when I get in there, I really get in there. And that included a marathon session in front of TLC's HOARDERS. For those out of the loop, HOARDERS follows individuals whose homes have basically disappeared under a pile of crap. Often suffering from a form of OCD, hoarders end up with nowhere to sit, to cook, or even to sleep. And they never throw things away. Bad things happen when you throw stuff away. It's the kind of show that makes you want to sprint into the closet and toss out everything you've been saving for when you're back in a size 2 (aka never).

And then I noticed my 'active' reading pile...

I describe it as 'active' because it isn't my only reading pile. I have other book piles, piles that won't fit on the (bulging) bookshelves. Piles that really shouldn't be in the house anymore. Piles I've accumulated in the three short years since I moved to the States from Britain. I was starting to get worried...

On the show, hoarders often gave the same reasons to justify their hoards. As I gazed at my hoard, I couldn't help agreeing with some of those reasons:

  1. I might need the stuff again. Yep. Even though I've read it and will probably never read it again.
  2. It holds deep meaning for me. Yep. A friend recommended it!
  3. Getting rid means losing some kind of important information. Yep. Though, let's be honest: How much important information can really be found in a Russell Brand autobiography?


  1. Hoarders keep accumulating. Yep. Bought three books this past weekend, though I couldn't possibly get to them until, say, March of next year.
  2. They invent special reasons for keeping things. Yep. This cover is really shiny!
  3. Their lives disappear beneath the hoard. Save me!

Though I'm an amateur compared to TLC's hoarders, the tendencies are clearly there. But what to do? Well, nothing. Because then I came to a deep and profound truth...
Out of control reading piles are the reason God invented e-readers!
So, confess. I know you're out there. Do you really need to keep all those books? Or are you a hoarder?

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