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Saturday, July 16, 2005

Smothered by books

Loved this piece in the Times real estate section--though it reminds me of how very unlikely I am to have any $400K floating around when I'm in my 60s or 70s.

I always think I have a lot of books, and I tend to buy everything I ever think I might want to read or refer to again (or at least I do when I have the money), but I'm unsure whether I'd ever get to the 15,000 this guy and his wife seem to have amassed before paring it down to 10,000; right now I'd say I'm pushing but most likely have not reached 1,000. GWBoyfriend probably does have 1,000 or slightly more. Even in a combined household, though, I have a hard time imagining ever having more than 5,000 books.

What I have a harder time imagining, though, is being a literature scholar who doesn't have books, or at least doesn't really care or feel strongly about having them. One of mine and GWB's friends in grad school just virtually did not buy books. You'd go over to his apartment, and the shelves were full--and I mean full!-- of library books (at one point he racked up $900 in fines, though he managed to get them forgiven before he took his degree). And I don't think it was really because he was frugal; I think that books as objects just didn't mean much to him.

I've met a few others, including people who just don't "get" used bookstores or why someone might like spending a day browsing in them (as opposed to looking for, say, five specific books and then leaving), and I always wonder . . . how did you get into this field, again?

link | posted by La Lecturess at 4:50 PM |


Anonymous Anonymous commented at 6:01 PM~  

I was having similar thoughts in waterstones today! I reckon I'm looking at around 500 books myself. I just got into the second hand books scene a year ago and that literally doubled my collection. I feel like I should give some away to charity but like you said, scared I might want it some day...
btw - can you remember what that study was you referred to in your comment on my blog? sociology of religion is my thing, but it was very nearly education...

Blogger BrightStar commented at 11:58 PM~  

I have no idea how many books I have... but I prefer keeping them at my office -- more shelves / space there -- and then I bring home the books I need for a particular writing task. The storage space, though, is in the office. The woman who had the office before me had so many books -- it made the office look more like a library. My set of books is much smaller and pales in comparison.

I thought that article in the NYTimes was extremely interesting! Thanks.

Blogger RageyOne commented at 8:36 AM~  

Very cool article. I know I don't have over 500 books, however I feel the same way about purchasing books. I would much rather have my own copy than borrow it from the library. Now, I do, at time borrow, but if I'm going to use it more than a few times I think I need a copy.

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