Once, while I was writing at the coffee shop in the Barnes & Noble Bookstore, I noticed a crowd slowly gathering. And gathering. And gathering. Then a gal plopped down at my tiny cafe table and said, by way of apology, "My feet are killing me." She flashed me a look at her ticket –– "Number 437 if you can believe it!"–– and, perhaps recognizing my confusion, she added, "I don't read anything except I just LOVE this Janet Evanovich and Stephanie Plum!" She was waiting to get a book signed by the author.
The old-fashioned term dipsomania –– from the Greek of thirst + excitement –– seems wasted as a way to refer to alcoholism. There are dozens of other colorful options: call someone a rummy, a wino, an alky, a drunkard, a soak; say they are soused, pickled, zonked, pissed, impaired, tipsy, hammered.
I wish there were a parallel Greek term for the specific greed that certain writers engender in their fans. Bookthirstia, maybe, anyway, the kind of appetite that makes 400+ ladies of a certain demographic gather in a bookstore waiting for Janet Evanovich to arrive with her police escort. It's not limited to any demographic, I know this. The hordes of Harry Potter readers, the legion of Dickens-fanciers and Brontë-ites –– you can't guess who it's going to strike.
Papa Joe was rendered gleeful by the addition of a Louis L'Amor in his Talking Books package. My mother amassed a complete collection of Gene Stratton Porter, and re-read the oeuvre at least once a year. She also tried for the whole Andre Norton, but I suspect she missed a few.
Looking at the bookshelves across the room from this glowing screen, it's clear that I, too, have a galloping case of whatever-it-is-itis:
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