‘Hello, I’m A Bibliomaniac’ Isn’t Quite Apt

EnoughI thought about kicking off this blog with ‘Hello, my name if Fiona Crawford and I’m a bibliomaniac’, but that’s perhaps not the most apt intro. Sure, I’m an out-and-proud biblio, but the ‘maniac’ sort of suffix gives the wrong impression and the intro implies that I’m asking for help.

I am asking for help, but not the kind you think, so I perhaps need to rephrase the intro as ‘Hello, my name is Fiona Crawford and I’m a desperately time-poor avid reader’. A brief stack and count revealed that I have some 42 titles currently sitting, as a wobbling tower of books, on my bedside table.

Book pileI laid them out, photographed them in a line and then in stacks (because I couldn’t work out which one made the volume look more manageable) before finally doing up a quick tally (see accompanying pictures). Then I realised there were another seven or so titles not in that stack, so let’s make it a round 50 books.

I know I should just slowly and steadily work my way through the pile. The complication is that it’s likely that I’m heading back to uni for the next three years, which will put further pressure on my already limited reading time. How, then, am I possibly to choose which books to read?

Wolf HallSome of the books are in there because they’re great tomes that I know I will need time and brainpower to read. These include Hilary Mantel’s Booker prize-winning Wolf Hall and Jared Diamond’s Collapse (I know, it’s an oldie, but I’ve been told it’s a goodie).

Some of them are socially and/or environmentally minded, which I love, but which are often a little bit drier, a little bit more guilt-inducing, and take a little bit longer to read in order to properly absorb. I’m talking about a handful of how-to-live sustainably books, David Borstein’s The Price of a Dream, four-odd Mohammed Yunus titles (he’s widely credited with kicking off microfinance social enterprise format), and John Naish’s Enough, which talks about how we need to reign in our rampant consumerism for both our own and the planet’s health.

The Accidental GuerrillaThere’s Bitter Chocolate, which shows us the dark, child-labour and general enslavement awfulness that goes into every chocolate bar that makes its way to our shops and into our mouths. There’s David Kilcullen’s The Accidental Guerrilla, which argues that by blowing the bejeepers out of otherwise-on-our-side civilians in places like Afghanistan, we actually sufficiently anger them to join the ranks of the guerrillas.

There’s Mary-Rose MacColl’s Birth Wars, which emerged from an initial report MacColl was asked to write some years back after a baby died in a Brisbane hospital because of a battle between the midwives and the doctors—or, as she terms their philosophies, the organics and mechanics. There’s also Luz Arce‘s The Inferno, which documents the experience of living under Chilean dictator General Pinochet. I bought it because I these days have some strong connections with Chile, and even recently travelled there. But I didn’t have time to read the book before I flew over and realised it would be a bit insensitive to be toting it around and dog-earing pages of note while I was in town.

Silent SpringThere are books I know I should have read by now, including Rachel Carson‘s Silent Spring, which is apparently the book that changed the use of certain pesticides in farming, Confederacy of Dunces and The Catcher in the Rye—the former I’ve avoided because the protagonist is apparently the most unlikeable character ever and the latter I’ve not quite gotten around to and then avoided lest I be seen to be jumping on the just-dead bandwagon.

Then there’s the randoms, including how Nike grew from just another shoe manufacturer into a global conglomerate that ‘owns’ sport, the 19th Wife, which brings us the story of the first woman to leave the Mormans and tell the world of its polygamy. Oh, and the tricky-to-find book I bought, which turned out to be a large-print version, and which both makes it slightly unwieldy to carry about on public transport and has print so large passengers five rows back could read over my shoulder. Purchasing it has, I’m sure, also flagged me in the online bookstore’s database as someone who needs special versions of titles.

So where to start? And how to tackle them? Especially bearing in mind that I have a voucher to spend on this here good online bookstore and that even more books will be released and bought by me in coming months. Oh, and if you had a Boomerang Books gift voucher, what would you buy?

Book pile

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Fiona Crawford

Fiona Crawford is a freelance writer, editor, blogger, proofreader, and voracious reader. She regularly appears as a book reviewer in Australian BOOKSELLER+PUBLISHER magazine. Fiona is also (unfairly) known as the Book Burglar due to her penchant for buying family members—then permanently borrowing—books she wants to read herself.