Book hoarder wants more for Christmas

By Tammy Keith Published December 1, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
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Editor’s note: The following column originally ran in March 2009. Tammy is still a book hoarder, despite owning a Kindle and an iPad mini. She has several books on her Christmas list this year.

I just got new wood floors in my living room, and I love them.

But that’s not what this is about.

I realized, when packing the stuff to make the furniture lighter for my floor man, that I am a book hoarder.

You know, like those crazy cat people, but with books.

I boxed up the books from the shelves, from baskets on the floor, the hearth, the mantle and tops of furniture and stuck everywhere in between.

After the floors were finished, I reveled in the empty room. I lived with the empty bookcase for a couple of days. Then I started unpacking and unstacking the books from where I’d stashed them.

I take in books like people take in stray animals. I once found some old books in a garbage can and brought them home.

They seem to multiply like rabbits, too.

I try to weed them out, and for every 100 books I have, I might get rid of one.

So, loving my new uncluttered look, I decided I should purge.

As I looked through the titles, I saw a few that I thought I could part with. There was 101 Things to Do Before You Die. I think I’ve only done two of them. I put it in the discard pile, but then I hesitated. What if I want to do the other 99 things? If I get rid of that book, how will I know how to make my bucket list?

Then there is Secrets of a Millionaire Mind. I’d be crazy to get rid of that in this economy, right? But I’m afraid the “secret” is to write a book that gullible people like me buy.

I have eclectic tastes in reading material. There’s my humor collection — the great Erma Bombeck and Lewis Grizzard, The Sweet Potato Queens — and a book about one of my favorite people of all time, Carol Burnett. Those are classics. I can’t get rid of them.

I have a taste for true crime, too. I bought my first Ann Rule book years ago at a garage sale, and I remember the woman who took my 50 cents looked at me strangely and said, “I thought only men read this stuff.” Nope. I’ve read all her books.

I put them back by the Patricia Cornwell novels.

Then there are my signed books by John Grisham, Jeanne Ray and Rebecca Wells.

I found some I was happy to part with — but they were my husband’s books on golf, so back on the shelf they went.

There are books I’ve gotten as gifts that I can’t part with, and books that bring back memories — like Stephen King’s series The Green Mile that I shared with my brother when he was in college.

To Kill A Mockingbird has been my favorite book since I read it in ninth grade. Just looking at the cover makes me swoon.

I did include four or five books along with other stuff I donated to a charity garage sale this month.

Then my husband asked — I swear while I was writing this column — “Where’s that book …?” It was one I’d gotten rid of, so I promised myself that from now on, I’m keeping them all.

But I’ve really got to do something about these stacks of magazines.

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or

Niche Publications Senior Writer Tammy Keith can be reached at 501-327-0370 or

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