On books

Inside Higher Education had an interesting article by Scott McLemee on books and the future of the library. It began in a way that seemed all too close to home for a book crazy like me:

It is possible that I have too many books. There, I said it. (That felt weird.)

Heading off to visit her mother before all of us rendezvous for Thanksgiving, my spouse dropped a gentle hint: “Maybe while I’m gone you could do some reshelving?” The most recent effort to impose some order had involved transferring books from the coffee table and windowsill to a consolidated mound on the living room floor. This was, I thought, progress – though evidently this is debatable. Then four or five huge boxes and a dozen padded envelopes arrived from publishers, in connection with a literary award I’m helping to judge. Americans may not read much poetry but they sure do write a lot of it.

So … point taken. I’ve been wheeling belles lettres by the pound over to the Inside Higher Ed offices. At home I pack the already doubled-layered shelves as tightly as circumstances allow. This process has its downside: the rediscovery of volumes acquired years ago that now go into a “must read soon” pile.

So true.


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