Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The woes and the gluttony of book lovers

I considering myself very lucky blessed at the moment. On the weekend I was given a Kindle (because a friend was given a Kindle and they already had one). I haven’t embraced e-books at all yet. I’m not one of technology’s early adopters generally, and I like real books, a lot. But I am fast running out of space to keep real books, and something had to be done.

When I bought the small MacBook Air, because I knew I wouldn’t be buying an iPad anytime soon, I thought that the one thing it would not be so good for was reading e-books, because it is just harder to sit on a train or in bed with a laptop open than holding an iPad. But I just read this article (H/T Jean), where it mentions that the Kindle is better for single-tasking, and so I am now extra pleased that I have a Kindle for reading rather than an iPad. This article on An End of Books (worth a read – my favourite local bookstore cafĂ© is closing down, and it’s all sadly true) says:
As soon as ebooks moved from the Kindle to the iPad, the magic of reading was threatened by the opportunity (“for just a second”) to check on email, Words with Friends or an incoming text message.
Yes, and I am sure I would do it too. Social media is one of those things where I find my use of it creeping up over time, and every now and then I just have to take stock and wind it back a bit. So, yay for this Kindle.

I also loved this article (also H/T Jean) on 17 Problems Only Book Lovers Will Understand. Uh huh. Then there was this article from Tim Challies on being a Book Glutton. Uh huh to that one too. I am trying to be less “precious” about books. (Seriously, I don’t know what some people do to them and how they manage to ding them up so badly in the process of reading them, but I try to let it go. However, let me just take this opportunity to make one suggestion, for when you borrow books off a “book person”: if you carry it around in your bag, keep it in a small plastic bag, please. I always carry my own books around in my handbag in a small plastic bag that actually has a draw-string on it, and they never end up completely trashed.) But back to this book glutton thing and some advice to counteract it:
When your bookcases have reached their capacity, practice the add-a-book, remove-a-book principle. Every time you add a book to your library, remove another book, either by throwing it away, selling it, or giving it to someone else. This will continually prune your library, ensuring it gets better, even without getting bigger.

An unread book does no good to anyone. It is far better to have someone else read a book and benefit from it than to have it remain unread on your bookcase. If it is a worthwhile book and you know you will never read it again, pass it to someone who will.
... Gluttony can manifest itself in books as much as in donuts. Loan your books freely and expect to experience some attrition. If someone else will get more benefit from the book than you will, give it to them as a gift. Practice generosity rather than gluttony by holding to your books with open hands rather than closed hands.


Jessica said...

I'm trying to do the add 1 cull 1 thing. It's hard to let go of them but the overall quality of my book collection IS improving as a result. But sometimes I cheat and just cunningly shuffle them around.

Ali said...

Well, good for you, as I haven't even attempted the add 1 cull 1 thing, but I have my eye on some books to go ... (or I may just employ the cunning shuffle). Maybe these ebook things encourage greater book gluttony than ever. I don't know. "Having" an ebook doesn't seem to have the same appeal though.