‘a fast paced thriller. The author is a good storyteller, keeping the suspense throughout.’ [Invisible]


There ought to be a word for it

Posted on Aug 5, 2014 in ereaders, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

and now there is, because I have just invented one (with the help of my husband, whose German is much better than mine). It’s Leerbuchregalangst, the fear of being without anything to read (rendered literally: fear of the empty book shelf). One of the most difficult times in my life was in my twenties when I had an eye operation that prevented me from reading for a while. But I suffered from Leerbuchregalangst long before that. Perhaps it goes back to my childhood when the time between visits to the library seemed so long and I’d read the books at home again and again. But whatever its roots, it has led me to stagger through train stations and airports with suitcases lined with paperbacks (sometimes discarding them en route when read). There have been anxious calculations about how many books I am likely to get through, with one or two added for good luck. I have written before about what a blessing the little World’s Classics editions are, so small and compact.

Of course the coming of the e-reader has changed things, but not as much as might be expected. I wouldn’t take an e-reader on the beach, for instance. And there is a problem with technology: it is always possible that it might break down, or get stolen, or lost. Books don’t break down. Even dropping one in the bath won’t make it illegible. I once dropped one down a Swiss hillside and managed to retrieve it from a snowdrift. It was rather swollen, but I still read it. So I’ll continue to take books on holiday as back-up. Or perhaps it’s the e-reader that’s back-up.


  1. moira @ Clothes in Books
    August 5, 2014

    To me this has been the biggest boon of e-readers – not having to worry. I know there could be issues, but it does mean not having to choose, nor to be completely weighed down by my own body weight in books! I can easily read a book a day on holiday, and carrying those with me used to be an issue. I do usually take a couple of paperbacks for the reasons you describe. The other big issue used to be going up to London – I live an hour’s rail journey away. The calculations used to be complex – I couldn’t take a book I was already reading unless I was pretty sure there was enough left to last me the 2 x journeys. So glad I no longer have to worry about that, just slide the Kindle into my bag…

  2. Christine Poulson
    August 7, 2014

    Yes, it’s great not to have those calculations. However, you do have to make sure your Kindle is charged before a long journey!

  3. TracyK
    August 7, 2014

    Now there is a word for it, if I can remember it. Recently when I going into the hospital, my biggest worry was to have a book with me there. Unfortunately I wasn’t up to reading until the last day I was there, but still… to be without a book was a horrifying thought. And I was surprised that having a book with me was such an overriding concern at a time when I was very ill.

  4. Christine Poulson
    August 8, 2014

    Hope you have fully recovered now, Tracy. Sometimes just having a book close at hand is important, even if you don’t read it, I find.


Leave a Reply