Friday, July 15, 2011

Too much information?

Ransome Boats by The original SimonB
Ransome Boats, a photo by The original SimonB on Flickr.

So when, exactly, does an interest tip over to become an obsession?

I am currently reading Arthur Ransome's "Racundra's First Cruise", a tale of sailing on the Baltic just after the First World War. It is a book I've been wanting to read for some 30+ years since I first noticed it listed in the front of one of the Swallows and Amazons series. Not continually I should add, interest has waxed and waned over that time, and even now it has sat on the shelf for over four months before I could bring myself to make a start. Anticipation being part of the pleasure of any book for me. But, a quick count up reveals I now have 24 books by or about Ransome with a couple more sat on my Amazon wish list... (Oh, and the Swallows and Amazons film on DVD plus audio versions of 8 books, a radio play and a documentary and have also been aboard three of his yachts - as pictured above).

That's not the highest tally for any one author (f'rinstance Terry Pratchett has reached number 38 in the Discworld series plus there are all the other non-Discworld books, spin-offs, graphic novel versions etc) but I'm not sure that counts as obsessive. Just following the works of a good author. I'm thinking more about what level of interest goes beyond this.

I used to think I was well up on Human Origins, with 8 or 9 books on the subject (and one or two more I'd borrowed from the library) but that's really nothing to the Space Programme (15) or Maps (20+) or Transport in general (over 50 - heck I seem to have accumulated at least 20 books by Top Gear presenters or spun-off from the magazine). But is this normal behaviour?

OK, I know that compared to much of the population even owning one book doesn't count as normal, but among those who do have a shelf or two?

Whatver the answer, I'm not going to stop now, even if I do need to get some books on carpentry and work out the best way to knock up some more shelves...


John Medd said...

My Beatles shelf is groaning as we speak.

emmaporium said...

Obsessive? I couldn't possibly pass judgement...