You may have understood Listeria Monocytogenes to be a Gram-positive rod shaped bacteria
commonly found in soil, streams, sewage and food (stay off the Brie if you are pregnant) and responsible for a rare but possibly lethal food-borne infection, Listeriosis.
Well you would be right and I am well aware that it is a serious and opportunistic infection and therefore I wouldn't wish to trivialize it in any way or worry you needlessly, but there is another strain mutating and it is starting to spread like wildfire.
This form of infection manifests as an obsessive-compulsive need to read book prize lists.
I picked up the virulent Listeria Bibliophilogenes strain years ago, a lifetime of exposure to books places many of us at a high risk of contagion and there is evidence to show that others may have been born with some form of it, placental transfer research currently in its infancy (if pregnant don't be alarmed, just keep on reading because you won't have a minute afterwards)
So far my immune system has always failed to produce the antibodies required so I am at constant risk of relapse.
Once exposed to a book prize list, the incubation period for my own form of Listeria Bibliophilogenes has now reduced to about five minutes.
Early symptoms set in with great rapidity.
- The brilliant book I was reading but a minute ago no longer has the remotest appeal.
- I'm quickly dashing around my shelves to see which books I already have and grouping them on a shelf of their own.
- Logging onto the online library catalogue to see what's available and can I nab it before anyone else
- Throwing pride and caution to the wind and writing humiliating begging letters to publishers.
- When all else fails flexing my credit card at The Book Depository for the remainder of the list which I want to arrive yesterday.
My Listeria Bibliophilogenes is at an advanced stage and so I have discovered it is useless to try and fight it.
Heaven knows how I have tried.
New and very expensive drugs come on the market and even though the very helpful people at NICE have phoned and said that they have allocated a full course of treatment targeted on my exact post code, no lottery involved they are mine for the taking, I have declined.
I of all people know how the NHS can ill-afford such a generous gesture especially towards a member of staff, we can't expect preferential treatment here at dgr scribbles when I feel sure that at Asylum and Eve's Alexandria no such offers have been made.
Currently I await a decision on my application to become a registered LB sufferer which would mean I could get the books on prescription.
I'm quite a bad case, intractable in fact, so would probably have to go onto a daily script.
The Booker Prize Long List announcement arrived last Tuesday evening at about 6.30pm and by 6.35pm it was clear a relapse was imminent.
I tried to phone my key-worker, out of hours - some hope, but it was too late anyway.
The decks were cleared, all other reading put on hold, great books half-read pushed to one side to make way for the young upstarts.
This picture revealing the unique molecular structure of the Listeria Bibliophilogenes strain as it starts to replicate.
I'm now deeply into reading the Booker Long List, getting great e mails from fellow sufferers who are all coping as well as can be expected with relapses of their own and we are all going to support each other through this terrible and trying time.