Biblioholism: Battle of the Books

I’m David Titheridge, and I am a biblioholic.
 
In the words of Alcoholics Anonymous,
I am powerless over books.
Only a force greater than myself can restore me to sanity.
 
What has brought me to this insight?
I found this book: “Biblioholism: the literary addiction” (Tom Raabe, 2001)
It has a test:  “Are you a biblioholic?”
It was like looking in a mirror. 
I was horrified to recognise myself.
 
 
I’ll focus on one aspect of this struggle.
You’ve heard of the Battle of the Bulge.
This is the Battle of the Books.
 
 
The last few years books have invaded my life.
My bedroom has seen a replay of the Korean War.
 
Check out this map of Korea.
 
The communist troops massed on the northern border.
So books massed in the northern bookcase of my room, combat-ready.
 
Where did they come from?
Military intelligence reports the primary enemy recruitment zone to be
2nd-hand bookshops.
 
I can’t stay out of them.
Books always infiltrate into my pack…
 
Back in my room, the first ominous sign was fleeing refugees:
innocent travel ornaments from the top shelf expelled by the barbaric books.
 
 
Then hostilities broke out: the book battalions crossed the 38th parallel.
From the bookcase stronghold,
the warlike writings marched south onto my floor.
 
A ferocious phalanx of fiction.
A death-dealing detachment of documents.
A bloodthirsty battery of booklets.
 
 
They launched nocturnal guerrilla attacks.
When I got up in the night to go to the loo,
commando compendiums would viciously trip me up.
 
The first communist push in the Korean War overran the peninsula to the Southeast corner,
with just a toehold left in the city of Pusan.
So the virulent volumes overran the room , up to my bed.
 
I was pushed back by pugnacious publications.
Besieged by belligerent biographies.
Blockaded by bellicose bestsellers.
 
The occupying force established a beachhead in my bedside table.
 
This book’s penultimate test question was
“Do you have at least 6 books next to your bed?”
Six??!!  I had twice that!
 
Like a siege-tower, the tomes overtopped my final line of fortifications.
 
Howitzer hardbacks.
Musketeer monographs.
Paratrooper paperbacks.
 
Ready for the final assault on Fortress David’s Bed.
To the West, a garrison on my desk was poised to strike the foot.
An attack on both flanks was imminent.
 
More books un-re(a)d under the bed.
Tunneling tomes.  Softcover sappers.
The end seemed near.
 
Desperate measures were needed.
September 1950 the American General MacArthur made an amphibious landing at Incheon.
He cut the communist supply lines and drove them right back north.
 
So I sneaked in behind the literary lines and
built another shelf level on top of my bookcase.
I routed their forces,
pressing that print back where it belonged.
 
I could see the carpet again.
 
But, just like the Korean War, the victory was brief. 
The campaign continued.
 
The Chinese hordes poured over the border, overwhelming the US by their sheer numbers.
So the books multiplied.
Once again they marched forth from the bookcase.
 
Scouting scrolls.
Veteran volumes.
Reprint recruits led by out-of-print officers.
 
The encroaching editions now an oncoming tide of print overwriting my floor.
 
 
But as I speak ladies and gentlemen,
I am planning a bold new counteroffensive.
There are 2 tactical prongs to this strategy.
The first aims to put a dent in the enemy lines by
forcing redeployment of hostile troops.
I’ll lend reading material to friends and divert the attack to them!
 
The second is a highly classified military secret.
I have acquired some new shelving to put under my window. 
An unexpected strike from the East to
put them out of print.
A dramatic outflanking manoeuvre to
sweep the floor clean of those pestilent publications once and for all!!
                                                                                                                                              
Well, for a few months anyway…
 
 
This book’s assessment of my plight suggests defeat is ultimately inevitable.
I am too far addicted to ever recover.
The literary legions will triumph.
 
One day I will be
throttled by a thriller,
                knocked off by a novel, or
disembowelled by a dissertation,
 
and go to that great library in the sky.
——-
 
The body of
                    B. Franklin, Printer
               (Like the Cover of an Old Book
                    Its Contents torn Out
          And Stript of its Lettering and Gilding)
                 Lies Here, Food for Worms.
               But the Work shall not be Lost;
        For it will (as he Believ’d) Appear once More
              In a New and More Elegant Edition
                    Revised and Corrected
                       By the Author.
 

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