|Sir Thomas Phillipps' idea of a family photo
Extremism is trending nowadays -- weather, politics, sports, food portions. Even travel, an area with a historically wide latitude for adventure, is trending extreme. At least it appears so on those ubiquitous, addictive YouTube videos where an armchair traveler may lose themselves for hours. I’m readying for an actual trip to Colorado, real mountains, breath-taking vistas, cascading waters, and a modest bit of hiking and jeeping. But do I want to hang precariously over a plunging precipice, my life attached to a thin cable as I dangle in the air like a circus performer, my well-paid guide, conditioned as an Olympian, encouraging me, his (or her) can-do attitude quickly wearing thin like my cheap pair of hiking boots? Do I need this kind of adrenaline rush / confidence boost? You can guess the answer. For I’m a book collector and the betting odds find me seated at a craft brewery simply enjoying the mountain air, thumbing through an old-school travel guide, and admittedly googling to see if there are any bookstores close by.
Yet is book collecting really a staid and pleasant past-time, intellectually rewarding, but free of extremes compared to the whirl of the world we live in today? I have a one-word answer to the uninitiated – bibliomania. Physical demise may not be at stake, but in any other form book collecting ranks high on the extremism scale.