So I'm not particularly surprised to read that Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, authorities have decided to evict one man from his apartment because of the dangerous situation they say he has created there with his multitude of books.
John Puchniak quite literally lives in a sea of books....
He reads constantly except when he’s haunting bookstores, libraries and, when he’s able to get there, the Philadelphia bookstore that he co-owns. He filled his house with about 3,000 texts until it was repossessed by the bank, which agreed to move them all to an apartment Puchniak rented on North Main Street specifically because there was plenty of storage space.
During a routine yearly inspection, one that Puchniak had passed since he moved there in 2002, he was given three days to clean, but no indication about what needed to be done. Boxes and bags of books were everywhere, so he began reorganizing.Mr. Puchniak has obviously crossed the line from book-lover to someone who has become totally obsessed with books. They have taken over his life to the point where he thinks of nothing else and now can barely afford housing and the other necessities of life for himself.
When Puchniak’s landlord, Caroline Lawson, city code enforcement officers Frank Kratz and Joann O’Donnell and city fire inspector Bill Sharksnas returned on June 1, the apartment was condemned, according to Puchniak’s attorney, Jim Hayward.
O’Donnell then indicated Puchniak needed to “get rid of the books” before it would be habitable again, Hayward said.
Certainly not an option for Puchniak, he began further consolidating his collection, clearing his two flights of stairs, the landings in between and pathways to most radiators.
I find his story to be a sad one, one that is not all that uncommon, and my sympathies are with him in his battle to regain his apartment even though I know that the man could use some help in sorting out his obsessive behavior. Something tells me that it must be very easy for book lovers to slip over the line that he has crossed. Now, that's a scary thought, isn't it, book lovers?