Unless a bookcase collapses and buries you under a landslide of paperbacks, collecting books will rarely kill you (although they will damage your wealth, eyesight and marital harmony).
Although less immediately life-threatening than crack cocaine, 80 proof vodka and sleeping with Mafia wives, books can be the cause of all sorts of trouble.
Because they’re addictive, as Tom Raabe’s excellent ‘Biblioholism’ will tell you.
Confession time: my name is Tom, and I’m a biblioholic.
I’ve already admitted to owning 8,000 books. Or rather, being owned by them.
But for the biblioholic, there is no rehab, no Readers Anonymous meetings where you admit to once having bought a Dan Brown novel and everybody nods in empathy.
The compulsion only stops when the half-read volume drops from your dead and lifeless fingers. So I suggest you keep a copy of something worthy and uplifting nearby when you feel that fatal heart attack approaching.
Try Proust or Tolstoy, ‘Ulysses’ or ‘Bleak House’, for example. You don’t want to be found with a well-thumbed copy of a Georgette Heyer romance in your hand. (Well, I don’t, anyway.)
And remember, when you reach THE END of the final chapter of your life, one last concern will outweigh all others: ‘What’s going to happen to my books?’