What is a “bibliomane?” Simply put, if a “bibliophile” is a book-lover, then a “bibliomane” has a mania for books. And I do mean mania, like a proper, diagnosable, “he’s a bit of a nutter” sort of mania. I first encountered the word in a little book called A Gentle Madness, by Nicholas Basbanes, and realized at last what it was that I’d been suffering from for so long. I like to think of it as being a healthy obsession… but that could be the mania speaking…
Hi, I’m Bill. This is my blog. It’s mostly about books, book collecting, and reading. I’ve worked in bookshops on and off again for many years, including working for two now-defunct chains, Waldenbooks and Borders Book Shop. I’ve led discussion groups on literature, given workshops on the history of science, and taught Cub Scouts to adults how to know some of the different rocks and minerals. I’ve been a nearly life-long reader (there were a few early years where I wasn’t quite up to the job). I’ve written reviews of what I read for my own amusement for years, and now I’m doing it for public consumption. This blog will serve as home for my reviews, my thoughts on reading, discussions of bookshops and book buying, and more.
As the blog progresses, it will become evident from the tag cloud what I sorts of books I read and what I don’t. My comfort zone is fairly broad, but I may even stray out of that on occasion, for a good enough reason. The main areas in which I am reading now are classics and “the canon” of great literature, mysteries, science fiction & very little fantasy, history, science, and music. One month in, I’ve already posted reviews in all of these fields, and hope to review more. I’m literally reading as fast as I’m able, when I have time to read.
Most of the time, I’m not reading things in any particular order, except the order dictated by the curious connections that my magpie’s mind will sometimes lead me to make. And since I’m in the bad habit of reading multiple books on the hop, things aren’t always finished in the order in which they were begun. My real goal, however, is to make sure that I’m finishing what I’ve begun, and moving smartly on to the next thing. Reviews which I feel are worthwhile are also being posted here – dates at the bottom of each entry will show roughly when I originally read the book in question, if you’re curious.
Some of these reviews and notes will have appeared on other sites, but they are my work and my work alone, and in every case, it seems, I’ve done at least a modicum of re-writing, with the hopeful goal of improvement. Please feel free to indulge in a short quote, but for blocks longer than 100-ish words I’d appreciate a formal request and citation.
Obviously, the contents of this blog represent my opinions. They’re moderately well-informed opinions, I suppose, but they are not absolutes. For that matter, I have been known to change my opinion on occasion, either with the benefit of additional reading or the passage of time. Needless to say, these opinions are solely mine, and don’t reflect the views of any publisher, author, fictional character, or deity that I happen to mention.
If for some strange reason you’d like me to review your book… well, I’d be flattered, but I should warn you from the start: I am a harsh critic. I hate sloppy writing. I loathe poor editing. Typographical errors – outside of proofs – have no place in published works, and I even scrub them out of the blog whenever I spot them. And I will grouse and complain about any of those things if I encounter them. Vociferously. But… if you’ve written and published something along the lines of what I already review (and do check, because there are a fair few popular areas of current literature that I can’t be asked to read, for want of time and inclination), and the above hasn’t scared you off, then please drop me a line and we can discuss it. NB: this is not, I repeat not, an offer to copy-edit your novel, short story, grimoire, or gripping non-fiction work about the domestic snail-farming industry. I’ve far too much work to do on my own novel to spend any time improving anyone else’s. Thanks for the offer, all the same. 😉
If you have questions, feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org