March 12, 2010

The Art of the Bookshelf

I love books. I guess the proper term would be "bibliophile." There is an ongoing debate about whether the books on your bookshelf should be books you love to read, every book you own, or books that you may or may not have read that you feel represent yourself. I guess an entirely different debate would be whether or not to "display" books at all. I really don't see having a bookshelf as a way of displaying books, it's more like book storage to me. Why own a book that you will never be able to find because it's buried in a box in the attic?   

I don't keep any books that I wouldn't want to read again or that I feel I would never need to reference again. I don't feel a need to keep every book I read, especially fiction. Although, I do keep the classics.

I feel that my books do represent myself. I think everyone would know my interests if they saw my bookshelf. It seems silly to me to even buy a book that you didn't want to read. I had never even thought that people would buy books they didn't plan on reading, just because it is the kind of book that a person that they wish to be seen as would read. I have seen a lot of "book lists" and comments on blogs that indicate people actually do this. For what purpose? If you want to be the type of person who reads English translations of French archeological work in South America, why aren't you reading and enjoying those books? I don't understand this and am slightly offended by this. It feels as if a person who does this is allowing a book to lie for them. :D Maybe I am thinking too deeply about this. I guess it would not be lying if you wanting to use a book to motivate you to become a better person (such as "one of these days I'm just going to read that 10,000 page Shelby Foote trilogy and enjoy and learn all I can from it.)    

I have my books organized by subject and sometimes sub-subject. It seems a little bizarre but I like to be able to find the books I need when I need them. It could be worse, I could be card cataloging them with a book scanner. :D

I'm a big fan of information and sharing information. I've been thinking about cataloging some of the historical books and research books that I have to loan to researchers and reenactors. Books are expensive and I feel that some reenactor's impressions and research suffer from not having access to some of the better researched books (which can cost upwards of $35-$100.) It's not that I don't want to benefit the authors but I do think people are more willing to spend large amounts of money once they have perused a book and realize that the book is worth the investment. I don't know why this is but a lot of the reenactors that I know are reluctant to share their information in an effort to remain a "top authority" on a subject. I think there is always something new to be learned and discovered and information hoarding just leads to making everyone look bad, we are only as strong as our weakest link. Maybe I will make a page on my sidebar listing my books, perhaps it will inspire people to do the same. Happy reading. :D


  1. I am glad to see someone less than half my age liking books so much and old ones too. I like your entire blog too.

    Enjoy the reenactments, they make for great mulling memories later on in life....


  2. Thanks so much! I'll be looking at your blog too. :)


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