It is possible to give one’s life to books, to dedicate years to collecting, reading, teaching, translating, writing, and studying them. In an essay for the New Yorker, Thomas E. Kennedy, a writer, editor, translator, and professor, reflects on his own experience of leading a life “decided by books,” the result of being given a book that reeled him in when he was still at “a susceptible age.”
Kennedy writes: “You wonder whether you actually love books or are merely addicted to them, obsessed by them.”
By the end of Kenendy’s essay, it remains unclear whether an obsession with collecting books is a good or a bad thing. Also unclear is whether love and addiction are all that different.