…I can’t articulate it exactly, but there’s something about this being a randian hero living in a mound of books like Scrooge McDuck in his piles of pennies that gels very well with the idea of literature where it has to have “proper plot and characters dammit! or it’s just some faggy bullshit to screw snobs out of their money!”. It’s a very capitalist, Swansons Hungryman Breakfast view of literature : “I know what I like and I like a lot of it!”. If I’d had the attention span to slog my way through more Marx back then, I’d be making a really cogent point regarding surplus right now. It has little to do with the exact number of books you own, but all about owning a surplus of… well, anything. And wallowing in it until you’re drooling. Which, for me, surplus causes depression - depression is very much like having a surplus of everything going on at the same time.
yeah, this is totally a thing. as I mentioned to you, I’ve often noticed that people who are the most obnoxiously into proclaiming I AM A BOOKISH LITERARY BOOK NERD, UNUSUALLY SO come in two basic varieties: A) standard pretentious, probably read a lot of Nietzsche yet still have a seething sense of being hard-done-by Nietzsche would mock and B) unwilling to expand their reading beyond super accessible pulp fantasy/YA. (Disclaimer: I’ve often fallen into both myself. Although I never got super into Niezsche.) I never really understood B but the link you’re drawing between fetishising vast quantities of books, a marketable bookish identity, and a particular flavour of capitalist anti-intellectualism makes sense.