I’ve been thinking about the characteristics or traits of a bookaholic recently. Maybe it’s time for introspection or I’m bored, no matter, I’ve been thinking about “stuff” and one of those is why do I call myself “addicted to reading.” I am. I read every thing. I read the paper. In today’s world that might be old fashioned but I enjoy fighting with the paper to get to the next part of an article. And it’s always a battle for me. The paper NEVER cooperates and folds nicely on the creases. I also read abandoned brochures. Sure some day I might buy that lake property in Arkansas, it could happen. I read any magazine left around unless it’s too grimy or in a doctor’s office. I never read magazines at a doctor’s office because I’ve got the theory stuck in my head the previous readers were sick and I’m sick enough thank-you-very-much. But I do read magazines when I’m waiting at the stylist. Those handlers when I think about it have just as many sick germs as the doctor’s office. Hmm. Well, most days while I wait I read my phone because it has email and NPR on it, so I can connect. Anyway, the point is I read obsessively and all the time. Enough that I’ve labeled myself as addicted to reading.
But one of the most misunderstood descriptions of an addicted reader is glomming. Non-readers really don’t get it. First, my definition of “glom” is the search for ALL published material by an author or within a series. Glomming is the act of finding and acquiring said material. Glommer is the person who performs the search. I’ve only glommed for twenty or so authors in my life. Or at least the life I remember. One of my first glomming incidents was discovering the world of Pern and dragons and obsessively collecting all the Anne McCaffery Pern books. I even picked up her non-dragon books and was delighted. Another author was Mary Stewart. She may have been my very first, beginning in junior high. Wow, she wrote of a sophisticated world that was a universe away from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Filled with spies, murders, intrigue and international European settings. I loved her. Then she wrote Merlin books and lost me. Ah, well. It wasn’t my time for Merlin, maybe later. After my European adventures I discovered Jane Aiken Hodge. Ah, European, but not just England. She tossed in France, Russia, Poland, Vienna, and Savannah. She made European history in high school come alive for me.
More recent gloms have included Lois McMaster Bujold and Janet Evanovich. the Bujold Vorkisian universe and characters are ones I revisit yearly, almost as a ritual. The Evanovich I sold. Sometimes books hold up and sometimes they do not. It’s sad when you go through a glomming adventure, finally collect all the books and then settle in for a good solid week of reading and then feel left down. It happens. But it’s more the case you’ll glom and have a wonderful adventure of reading a new-to-you author who delights with every book, or at least makes you feel it was worth all the effort.
Recent glomming has been made so much easier with the Internet. Ten years ago you discovered new authors from reader groups, yahoo or listserves. That’s how I found Mary Balogh, Jo Beverly and Mary Jo Putney. I had some of their books but never realized they had whole series! Then groups like book store junkies formed of like-minded people who could help you find and price books. I remember being SO excited when a package would arrive filled with books from a far away state or country. It was like Christmas and birthday rolled up into one. But no one in my family “got it.” They seriously could not understand my excitement over plastic wrapped used books. Better than an Amazon package because those packages contained something that a glommer treasured, a book or two to complete a set.
Today I have a good friend who will hunt down books for me, and I love her! Amazon and other sites will help you find entire backlists easily and quickly and give you and idea of what they’re worth. But there is still the joy in the hunt. Of wandering into a used book store or garage sales with a book table or boxes or into a thrift store and finding that one book you’ve been looking for and not having to spend $30 to acquire.
But things are changing, now old backlists are being issued as Kindle versions so that search may not be so hard. And the annoyance of finding the book you’re reading is number 8 in a series and only the last three are still in print, so good luck in finding the missing ones that will explain all those nasty gaps you just don’t get may finally have come to an end. And maybe if an author doesn’t sell book three of a trilogy to their old publisher, it will still see the light of day in an e-version. I have high hopes!
So are you a glommer? If so, who have you glommed? How do you do it? Search in stores personally? Hire / commission a glommer? or do you buy online?
Until next time…
Get out there and READ a book…
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