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. He lives in New York.


  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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