Bookshelves Ten Feet High

July 28, 2014 | 2

Chances are you’ve bragged about the size of your library. The number of books you own is a point of pride for many readers. But at what point does collecting books — which few people would say is a bad thing– turn into a problem? At what point, in other words, does it become hoarding? Pair with: Rebecca Rego-Barry on hunting for rare books at college library book sales.

is a staff writer for The Millions and an MFA candidate at Johns Hopkins. Prior to coming to Baltimore, he studied literature and worked in IT while living in Dublin, Ireland. You can find him on Twitter at @tdbeckwith.


  1. Me and my husband have a library at home almost full of books. On every trip that we make it is a policy to bring a book back home. I don’t think we’ll have a problem using the stairs as a bookcase when the library is full. I don’t believe in the phrase: “I have too many books” … There is and always will be space for books around us; it’ll never become hoarding to us :)

  2. My parents are always nagging me about all the books I have. He doesn’t read much, and she has me check a book out from the library if she wants to read something specific. Neither of them care that I want books mostly to have the information, and many of my books are either the only copy I’ve every come across, library sell-offs (negates the “borrow it from the library” argument) or both.

    Still, it’s annoying they take up so much space. I’ve compared late 20th-Century printings with 19th- and early 20th-Century copies and concluded modern publishers put a lot of unnecessary whitespace in their page design. And then they’ve got the balls to whine about production costs. Must think everyone buys books by the yard.

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