“Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.” — Mae West
As I wandered the aisles of a large chain bookstore the other day, I experienced a growing sense of unease. I paused between the Philosophy and the New Age Spirituality sections and sought to put my finger on the cause. A few minutes later I murmured, “There are too many books in the world.” Even as one part of my mind reeled in astonishment, I looked about me, nodded my head, and repeated, “There are too many books in the world.”
Coming from a hopeless bibliophile and former aspiring writer, this is nothing less than shocking. Stranger still, my profound love of both reading and writing has led me to this uncomfortable conviction. There are not enough days left to me in this life, nor hours in those days, to read all the books currently in print that I want to read. Likewise, such a surfeit (dare I say glut?) of books makes it extremely unlikely that anything written by me will ever find it’s way into print, let alone to a retailer’s shelf. These twin realizations sank in like fangs, the venom of their import so debilitating that I had to leave the bookstore at once. I may not be able to go back.
I have long been a great fan of Mae West, and the quote at the top of this posting is one I have claimed at times as a personal motto. Now I find myself sadly and reluctantly amending it to fit my present state: Too much of a good thing can be simply too much for me.