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Today's Word



Apr 15, 2019
This week’s theme
Words related to books

This week’s words

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with Anu Garg

The invention of electricity and microchips and the Internet is fine, but the biggest invention of all time would be when someone manages to pack books with just enough time to read them.

Let me explain.

I go to a bookstore or a library or a library book sale and the thought that comes to mind is: so many books, so little time. I’ll have to be born several times (multiple editions?) to be able to read all the books I want to read. The Japanese language even has a word for something related -- tsundoku -- acquiring books without reading them.

Imagine if you could bundle books with time! Any book comes prepackaged with enough time to read it. So if you buy a 100-page book, you might find that that day you don’t have to cook. The refrigerator has leftovers in a corner you had overlooked or your neighbor brings in extra slices of pizza they had baked.

If you buy a copy of War and Peace, well, it snows so much that your office is closed for the rest of the week.

You get the idea.

We have the greatest minds of the world, we have sent a man to the moon, what’s holding us back from implementing this book + time idea? Coming up with a Kindle is nice, but we can do better than that. Let me know when you have a prototype. I’ll sign up to be a beta tester.

Until then, well, let’s just look at some words related to books and people who deal in them.

bibliotaph or bibliotaphe


noun: One who hoards books.

From Greek biblio- (book) + taphos (tomb), which also gave us cenotaph Earliest documented use: 1823.

“A more pertinent example of the morbid bibliotaph is recorded by Blades; this was the late Sir Thomas Phillipps, of Middle Hill, who acquired *bibliographical treasures simply to bury them*. He bought books by the library, crammed his mansion with them, and *never even saw what he had bought*.”
Holbrook Jackson; The Anatomy of Bibliomania; University of Illinois Press; 2001.

The tax which will be paid for the purpose of education is not more than the thousandth part of what will be paid to kings, priests, and nobles who will rise up among us if we leave the people in ignorance. -Thomas Jefferson, third US president, architect, and author (1743-1826)

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