Seventy-five Days of Phobias – Day 21: “The Horror, the Horror” with Anna Campbell

To celebrate the upcoming release of my third novel, Driving in Neutral—a love story about claustrophobia—I am running the 75 Days of Phobia series. Today, Day 21, features my guest Anna Campbell. In the spirit of her courageous Regency era heroines, today Anna faces up to the fear that dares not speak its name, although it has the power to turn her blood to ice.

Anna Campbell 43970006Hmm, this could be the start of a piece about the horror of writing an essay on Heart of Darkness for first year uni. But that was many years ago and I only have nightmares about it every second week these days…

When the gorgeous Sandra Antonelli (Aww, thank you, AC!) asked me to reveal my deepest phobia, the first thing I thought about was clowns. This is such a widely held fear that it even has an official name – coulrophobia (see Lisa Barry’s Day 7 post), which, on this list of phobias ( comes right after consecotaleophobia, the fear of chopsticks. Who knew such a thing existed? Although given how often rice and indelible gloop have glumped from chopsticks onto my heaving bosom, perhaps it makes sense.

But even worse than my clown phobia is the nightmare I’m sharing with you today.

My name is Anna Campbell and I suffer from…nillustoreadusphobia. It’s the fear of a horrible pileobookscondition called nillustoreadus that strikes when a person has a burning desire to read, she checks her towering To Be Read pile and she still can’t find anything she really feels like reading. And everyone needs something to read! It’s a basic human right.

I have good reason to fear NTR syndrome. Nillustoreadus is like being stricken with a particularly wicked form of blindness. Because, to paraphrase Coleridge (what a literary blog this is turning out to be), “Volumes, volumes everywhere, nor any book to read!”

Well, that’s not exactly true. There is a book to read. Obviously. In fact, if your TBR pile is like mine, there are LOTS of books to read. But nothing that quite strikes the right note. Leaving you prey to NTR and enduring the torments of the unbooked. All those pretty covers. All those come-and-get-me titles. All those beautiful white pages littered with little black marks. And none of them can save you.

screamyIn a desperate attempt to avoid the onset of this phobia, the sufferer is prone to mad behavior involving reckless acts with a credit card. The nillustoreadusphobic dashes madly to her nearest dealer…uh, bookshop and purchases large numbers of new books in the hope that she can stave off this horrible condition.

Sometimes this strategy works. Sometimes, tragically, it doesn’t.

Am I alone in suffering these vile tortures? Please, let me know that there are others out there who know this pain! Perhaps we can form a support group. Or at the least organise a field trip to the nearest library!

Duke low resBy the way, my physician’s advice to anyone suffering NTR phobia this September is to get to your nearest dealer…uh, bookseller and pick up a copy of WHAT A DUKE DARES, my latest book. It will soothe those pangs of NTR like a clown soothes… AAAARRRGGGGGHHHHH!



The Book Depository

Despite today’s post, you can discover numerous sensible facts about my writing on my website:

twitter: @AnnaCampbellOz




17 thoughts on “Seventy-five Days of Phobias – Day 21: “The Horror, the Horror” with Anna Campbell

  1. I so agree with you, Anna. Too many books too little time, I blame my Kindle! Did we give more weight to books when only in print? I would always finish a story, even if it wasn’t a favorite. But now, it has to grab me fast, with an original slant, if it’s too much like a number of other stories, I put it down.


    • Maggi, I haven’t moved to an e-reader yet and still I feel like that. I usually give a book a good go – about 100 pages – before I give up on it. But if I’m not grabbed by that stage, I’ll put it down. Too many other good books to read and just not enough time.


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  3. LOL Anna! I’ve had a pretty ordinary day today, but your post has left a smile on my face. Thanks for sharing about your nillustoreadusphobia! Now I know what this condition is called, and that others have it too, I don’t feel so alone! (or weird!)…I have so been hanging out for ‘What a Duke Dares’ to hit the bookstore shelves so it can go to the top of my TBR pile. You are one of my ‘go to authors’ to read, for a book I can truly get lost in! 🙂 …

    Before I owned a Kindle or Kobo (and yes, greedy reader that I am, I have both!), I used to doggedly read a book from cover to cover. But e-readers make it much easier for me to justify flipping through a book, or abandoning it altogether if it doesn’t grab me. I wonder if others reading having habits have changed because of this…(Oh, just saw Maryde voiced the same thought…Perhaps e-readers are enabling the condition!)

    (P.S. I also loathe clowns…almost as much as spiders!)


    • Jennifer, welcome to the NTR Support group. Looks like we’re going to need a bigger room! Interesting comment about flicking through stuff on the e-reader. I saw a really interesting post a few weeks ago about how reading habits have changed and that digital reading favors simpler, shorter stories just because you can flick through them and still get the gist whereas something longer and meatier requires more concentration. I think it would be sad if that was the case! I love sinking my teeth into a really well-imagined world that sweeps me away for a couple of hours to a completely different place.

      Thank you for saying such lovely things about the books. Not long now till Duke!

      And I think we need another meeting room for the clown phobics!


  4. Mary, well, there’s a name for it NOW! LOL! Thanks for swinging by – I think Sandra’s phobias blogs have been so much fun. I was going to do something serious (actually I do find clowns really creepy, that’s not a joke!) but this struck me as something a few of us might relate to! Actually I think you’re right about the time pressure. It’s a bit like that episode of Seinfeld about the sponges – is this book read-worthy!


  5. Anna I to suffer from the dreaded NTR, books creating paper walls beside my bed, they look good all stacked up like a beautiful two page spread from an Art Deco magazine. I dust them off, pat and stroke them lovingly, maybe even read the back every now and then with good intension. Sometime I will randomly open a brand spanking new book to the middle and sink my nose between the pages inhaling the sweetness of it all, arh the euphoric scent lingers and quells my hunger to read every word. Life is a busy place and I think that’s what gets in my way these days but now I know this is a condition I will make a conscious effort to face these prolific fears head on and I will read tonight and not turn on the box or play on Facebook, a goal of ten pages to dip my toe. Thank you for sharing Anna


  6. Well Anna – thanks for coming out of the closet with this one!
    YES I know what you mean and who would have thought there was a name for it. Often wondered if it became more prevalent with the onset of the e-book? Or perhaps not – I always had it I think 🙂
    My way of rationalizing this Phobia is that with my time so limited, am I afraid that the hours I might spend on **next chosen book** may be frittered away if the story does not come up to par? As many are bought on reviews or blurbs. Just a thought. But still a quandary.

    Lovely to meet you Sandra and What an interesting blog topic. I shall catch up on other posts 🙂


  7. Totally understand that condition. I suffer from it. Books must have books. Then when you sift through them and nothing feeds the thirst. Sigh! I’m sure there are a few of us out there that share the same phobia Anna. You’re not alone. 😉


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