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Confessions of a Book Fetishist

I love books. Not just reading... although I love that too. I love actual physical books. For some reason, I attach sentiment and meaning to the books on my shelf.. Sometimes its a connection with a particular time in my life. Sometimes its a connection with the person who recommended or gave me the book. Occasionally, it's the potential locked inside a book that I've owned for years but never read. My shelves are full of them. I've spent thousands of dollars on them over the course of my life, surrounding myself with printed words.

Lately, lack of space and disposable income have made me take a long hard look at my relationship with books. Making room for the impending arrival of our offspring has forced me re-evaluate my need to possess. A couple of weeks ago, I went through my entire collection and weeded out piles of books that I'll probably never read again or have never read in the first place. Then I separated out the books that I couldn't bear to part with, but didn't need on the shelves. Those went into the basement. It was both gut wrenching and liberating. But what about new aquisitions? Do I really need to own that cheesy sci-fi novel that keeps me company on the train? Do I even need to own that great Neil Stephenson series? Probably not. And ultimately, there are other more important ways that I need to spend my limited resources.

Fortunately, not owning books doesn't have to mean not reading them. Lately, I become reacquainted with an old love... the Public Library system. Jessamyn would probably smack me up side the head for taking so long to come around to this. What has really sucked me in is the Boston Public Library's online search and "hold" system. I can log onto their website and search the entire Metro Boston Library system for whatever I feel like reading. I can make a wish list for books that want to read but never remember when I'm actually at the library. Best of all, I can request a "hold" on a book anywhere in the system and when it's available it will be sent to the library two blocks from my office. I can even renew online. It's like Amazon, but free! As a result, I've managed to go over 3 months without actually spending money on a book. Sweet! One of the only drawbacks is that I sometimes have to wait awhile after a book comes out before I can get my hands on it. Another is that I find myself lugging around a lot more bulky hardcover books, since those stand up better to the rigors of library circulation. Small sacrifices. I'm making progress.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 17, 2005 4:57 PM.

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