Guilt-free Book Buying

shopping-trolley-cart-full-books-concept-19836392Over at HTML Giant, novelist and small press publisher Michael Seidlinger provides ten reasons for not feeling badly about buying books without then actually reading the dang things.

Or at least never reading some of the dang things.

Found via The Paris Review Daily


Personal Libraries: Pro and Con

In 2011, The New Yorker published James Woods’ lengthy complaint about having to dispose of his recently-deceased father-in-law’s enormous personal library. (Woods’ essay appears with others in his 2012 collection The Fun Stuff.)

In a blogpost written earlier this year, Nigel Beale, aka the Literary Tourist, takes issue with Woods’ cynical view of the value – and meaning – of (other people’s) largish personal libraries. Read Beale’s eloquent screed.

Julian Barnes Reflects on His Book-Loving Past

In support of Independent Booksellers Week, the British author Julian Barnes has written a lovely essay on the love of books and book-collecting, and The Guardian has published it.

Barnes begins his essay with these words:

“I have lived in books, for books, by and with books; in recent years, I have been fortunate enough to be able to live from books. And it was through books that I first realised there were other worlds beyond my own; first imagined what it might be like to be another person; first encountered that deeply intimate bond made when a writer’s voice gets inside a reader’s head.”

And he ends with:

“Reading and life are not separate but symbiotic. And for this serious task of imaginative discovery and self-discovery, there is and remains one perfect symbol: the printed book.”

Read Barnes’ entire essay, “My Life as a Bibliophile.” (And enjoy the 100+ readers’ comments, too, if you’d like. Not all of whom, by the way, agree with what they call Barnes’ “nostalgia” about the Printed Book.)

Found by librarian colleague (and habitual Guardian reader) Katharine Suttell

No More Printed Britannica

Most Americans have probably already learned that earlier this month Encyclopedia Britannica announced that the current printed edition of the encyclopedia will be the final one. Mr. Google will point you to a host of news articles and commentary (like this one from the blog of The New Yorker).

Britannica is neither the first nor the last familiar encyclopedia to abandon the codex for the computer. The rationale for digitizing time-sensitive reference works like encyclopedias is ever more irresistable, and it’s hard to argue with the sheer ecological argument of refusing to fell additional trees for subsequent editions of an encyclopedia that’s required numerous revisions since it was first published in (wait for it:) 1768.

Still, we felt it somehow necesssary to register here at the Booklover’s Blog this heartbreaking-if-inevitable turning point in the history of the book, if only because for many bibliophiles, perusing (in addition to referring to) Britannica is among the fondest memories of our early reading careers.

Britannica’s nostalgic value among readers (well, readers of a certain age, perhaps) is so strong that we predict that booklovers (and second-hand bookstore owners) are going to be snarfing them up from library book sales any time a public library divests itself of whatever edition it happens to own. (Lucky the booksale browser who stumbles upon a discarded set of the highly-regarded 11th (1911) edition!)

In any case, the death of the printed Britannica feel like another omen of the End of An Era (in this case, the Gutenberg one). Let us hope the marketing gods keep the licensing fees for the Britannica’s electronic versions within the range of public library budgets.

4/18/2012 Postscript: Britannica put together this nifty compilation of the media coverage of its announcement:

Confessions of Another Book Addict

Wherein we learn to our chagrin that a Google search on “book clutter” yields over 18,000 results.

Read Gabe Hash’s delightful blogpost at Publishers Weekly, “The Wonderful and Terrible Habit of Buying Too Many Books.” Also enjoy the empathic comments from Hash’s readers, including those who mention that they’ve tried to at least partially replace their book-buying habits with book-borrowing (from their local public library).

Found via The New Yorker’s Book Bench

Can Two Booklovers (Successfully) Merge Their Book Collections?

When two booklovers move in together, the day will come when the question of To Merge or Not To Merge The Books first rears its head. What happens next can take a variety of forms.

Rebecca Joines Schinsky recently posted what she learned aftershe and her husband decided to merge their book collections.

Read Schinsky’s essay.

Just as interesting: the comments from Schinsky’s readers who defend their decisions not to merge their books with their spouses’.

Found at BookRiot