Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Burning through my books

Moving house is to libraries as fires are to forests. Burn out the dead wood and make room for new growth. It's part of the natural life cycle.

The first part of packing is easy--you box up the "absolutely yes" books and set aside the "absolutely no" ones. These two categories make up perhaps 40% of my collection.

Then it starts getting hard. That set of thirteen volumes about twentieth-century theologians? It does pad out the theology section nicely, but will I ever read them? My little section of Mormonalia? Those copies of Faust and Crime and Punishment from the Nobles County Public Library book sale?

The danger at this point is that weighing a certain book's fate (holding it in your hand, checking out the publisher, reading the back cover copy) can lead to sitting down on a pile of boxes and reading the text itself. Sometimes this can be instructive: after finally giving Velvet Elvis a go, I couldn't make it past the first page. So that's a no, then.

At other times, though, you sit down with Dante's Inferno and end up having to read the whole thing. And then, because you understood so little of it, you need to consult the separate commentary volume. Hours can be lost this way.

1 comment:

Beau said...

What 13 vol set do you have on 20th c. theologians?