*A Times Best Non-fiction Book for Autumn 2022*
*A FT Book of the Year*
*A Spectator Book of the Year*
*A Waterstones Best Popular Science Book of 2022*
'Fascinating … Phobias and manias create a magical space between us and the world' Malcolm Gaskill, author of the No 1 bestseller, The Ruin of All Witches
Do you recoil in arachnophobic horror at the sight of a spider – or twitch with nomophobia when you misplace your mobile phone? Do your book-buying habits verge on bibliomania?
Our phobias and manias are contradictory and multiple: intimate, yet forged by the times we live in – the commonest form of anxiety disorder, but rarely given a formal diagnosis. Plunge into this rich, surprising and fascinating A-Z compendium to discover how our fixations have taken shape, from the Middle Ages to the present day, as bestselling author Kate Summerscale deftly traces the threads between the past and present, the psychological and social, the personal and the political.
'An endlessly intriguing book … All the bibliomanes (book nutters) I know will love it' Daily Mail
'A new book from Summerscale is always a treat … Her sub-title might echo Neil MacGregor, but this reads more like a book by Oliver Sacks, with dashes of Roald Dahl' Spectator