Pruning My Library

I have just purged by library fairly heavily.  This is not at all a common occurrence for me.  In fact, I cannot recall ever having discarded so many books at once, perhaps not even if I was to total all of my previous purges together.  I removed from my catalogue something more than a hundred books all told.

The decision to make this purge came on me very suddenly as I was looking over my shelves the other day, an epiphany of sorts, on an admittedly minor scale.  I realized that my criteria for reading has changed so much over the decade since I completed by formal education that I no longer have any interest in the kinds of books that I once valued highly enough to collect.  However long a life I might live, I reflected, I would never read these anthologies of critical writing on Shakespearean tragedy or these collections of essays on the discontents of postmodernism, so I started to pull from the shelves all those books that no longer had a place in my reading practice, the books that are mere parasites on better books, the endless production of literary academia.

I no longer have time for these books in my reading practice, and I have long believed that a bookshelf should be an index to the one who has filled it.  So I purged, and I weeded, and  I pruned, and in the process I think perhaps I also pruned some dead branches from myself.

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3 comments
  1. I find it interesting that this was posted in the ‘recipes’ category. Divulge toward the reason?

  2. John Jantunen said:

    Really though Luke, you purged to clear room for more books, didn’t you? You can admit it. It’s the first step and all that. As large and really, truly, impressive as your collection is I have to admit that if (and when?) I have a house as large as yours, my shelves will be a veritable museum of whims, a catalogue of carefully secreted fancies, and will in them contain a record of every second hand book shop, thrift store and yes, I am not proud, every bin of rotting old hardbacks I find by the side of the road from here to the very ends of our wide, wide earth.

    Did you, I forgot to ask, atleast take them to Macondo, cash them in for credit; are you laying awake in bed right now thinking of what he might have in the back, just came in. Have you set your alarm early? Will you be there when he opens, feverish. I had a dream you got some Belano. No, but there’s a rare Calvino I found stuck in with the Harlequins. Someone’s idea of a joke, I guess. There’s no dust jacket though. It’s hardcover? Pity. I’ll just take a look at what you have piled on the floor. Oh some PKD. Funny, I have a friend…

    Ring true? I should bloody well hope so.

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