My name is Patti O'Shea and I'm an Obsessive Book Hoarder (OBH).
It started innocently enough. I bought a few more books than I had time to read--no big deal--I'd get to those three eventually. But before too long, my To Be Read (TBR) pile swelled to a dozen. Still manageable and everyone has books on hand to read, right?
I found out the answer to that was no. My friends were shocked when I casually mentioned I had unread books. I brought it up with a few other people because I was sure I was normal. It turned out that I wasn't. The incredulous looks, the shocked comments were all it took for me to go underground about my twelve books. After all, it was embarrassing to be the only one who bought more books than she read.
Then I bought a new computer that had Prodigy Classic software on it. I joined, and browsed the communities--and I found other romance readers. Better yet, TBR piles were ordinary, casually discussed as if everyone had one! I knew I'd found a home.
Then came the recommendations. Authors I just had to try. Topics like "Favorite First Line" and "Only Three." (The premise being that you could only pick three books to keep and you'd lose the rest. Which three would you pick?) I found more intriguing books and bought them. This is when I discovered Linda Howard and Nora Roberts and Jayne Ann Krentz and went in search of their backlists.
And the TBR pile swelled.
There were authors on the romance board. I had to try their books, right? They were online friends. So I read Rachel Lee (aka Sue Civil Brown) and fell in love with her Conard County books. And Leanne Banks and her Pendleton Brothers series. Donna Kauffman, Anne Stuart, Barbara Bretton and a legion of others. The list of authors read like a who's who of romance and I tried almost all of them.
And the TBR pile swelled.
Because I was trying so many new authors and loving them, and because an OBH must have every book a must-buy author has ever written, I began a list of Out of Print titles I had to have. I began spending my Saturdays hitting thrift stores, used book stores and library sales in pursuit of these hard-to-find gems. I was wildly successful--even finding Nora Roberts's Promise Me Tomorrow, Anne Stuart's The Demon Count and Linda Howard's then unavailable Mackenzie's Mountain. While I was looking for specific books, I'd find others that looked interesting and buy them too. I was in heaven!
And since I was spending so much time looking for books, I didn't have as much time to read them, so the TBR pile swelled even further.
The women on Prodigy Classic supported me in my addiction. Heck, they shared my addiction. We'd talk about the size of our TBR mountains with great pride. We were OBH and damn proud of it.
I started devoting more time to writing--something I'd dabbled in from the age of fourteen. Prodigy Classic had great help for aspiring authors from some very big names. Jennifer Greene organized online workshops for us, led discussions and I learned a lot! Even if I only lurked, never admitting to anyone that I was writing.
And because I was writing, I didn't have as much time to read, and the TBR pile grew even further.
I started going to writers's conferences where free books were rife. I shipped three boxes of books home from my first RWA National. Do I need to mention how fast the TBR pile was growing at this point?
Actually, the word pile is a misnomer. Even the word mountain doesn't quite work. My TBR books fill a floor to ceiling bookcase. I have them stacked double. They've overflowed beyond that space.
I own more than 5,000 fiction books. I've read more than 4,000 of them. That means my TBR list is around 1000 books long. I'm admitting it in public for the first time since Prodigy Classic closed up shop.
Are there any other Obsessive Book Hoarders out there? Anyone else brave enough to share the size of their TBR pile?
And are there any other former Prodigy Classic members out there? If so, please post, I'd love to hear from you and talk about the good old days. :-)
Eternal Nights - Aug 2006
Through a Crimson Veil - Oct 2005