Sep 13, 2011

they are all gone

As maybe a sign of the times I have almost completely eradicated myself of physical books. I've been thinking about doing this for a long time for a number of reasons.
  1. They take up a metric crap-load of space.
  2. They serve no rational purpose while sitting on a set of bookshelves.
  3. "Things" rarely provide me with any value in life.
My hypothetical dream apartment consists of a bed, a computer, a cell phone, clothes, bathroom amenities, and kitchen utensils. And an ebook reader. In life I really don't need much more than that.

What gets in the way of that is the history of all those books. Maybe 600 in total. The pleasing aesthetic to a well stocked book collection. And my deep love of books.

The process of packing up the books was interesting. I almost kept backtracking on myself. At some point I justified keeping maybe 20% of the books. Well I haven't read that one. That one is kind of a keepsake. That was one of my favorite books. Ultimately I ended up packing up pretty much everything.

My extensive French Existentialist collection. The entire collection of Stephen Jay Gould. The entire collection of James Ellroy. A trove of popular science books. An extensive collection of Hunter S. Thompson. Gone.

The process was painful. I delivered the last of the boxes to the library of our local school today. I still feel a little weird.

It's perhaps interesting to see what books made it through.
  1. Feynman's Lectures
  2. Some history books I'm going to give to my dad
  3. Books I expect my kids to read one day (Tolkien, Rowling, etc.). Ironically I think by then they'll just read the ebook version
That's it.

Also interesting. Getting rid of them was hard. The entire Brooklyn library system would not take them. Manhattan would only take them at one spot. I suspect ebook readers are changing the landscape more quickly than we imagine and that libraries are inundated with physical books.

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