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Book Collector

2008-03-04 ignoramus

Here's a little fact about me: I own a decently sized amount of books. Some of that is Brook's doing, but I think we're about 50-50 right now -- she'll eventually surpass me. We currently have 5 large bookshelves and a few smaller bookshelves more or less filled. If I spent the time, I could list out tons of books in this thing (http://www.shelfari.com/).

And yet, I read very, very little.

Don't get me wrong, I love reading. I'm quite the bibliophile. But I just don't really do it anymore and my interests tend to fly away from the book I'm reading and on to something else. As such, I've amassed a large number of books that I have never read or have only skimmed. Some of the books were intended as reference material, so there's that.

But I've apparently bought all of these hot and sexy, academically-challenging theological and philosophical works, just so that they'll sit there on my bookshelf. Untouched, unread, and un-enjoyed. My books are the under-sexed spouses of the world that feel the need to cleave to other people for fulfillment. I'm sure they fantasize about deliberate readers with wireframe glasses in leather chairs cracking their spines under the warm glow of good-lighting, illuminating the intricacies of their soft, beige pages. Those readers probably wouldn't have written such a ridiculous run-on sentence in an attempt to be sultry about literacy.

You could pull the time argument (I'm too busy) or the not enough sleep argument (I'm too sleepy) or whatever other excuse you like. I find time to play counter-strike and soccer. I find time to work at all other times that I'm not playing counter-strike or soccer or sleeping or hanging out with Brook.

I don't think that's it. I think it's primarily that the idea of owning the work in question that I enjoy the most. I purchase quite a bit of non-fiction. These are books that I would like to have read and have already consumed the information therein. After I get the book, I just have a lot of work to do. Also, there's the whole vanity/asthete angle.

The other issue for me is a concentration issue. That is, I tend to concentrate too much. If I'm going to read a large work (a novel, the 39-volume set of the church fathers, etc.), I need to sit down for a long period of time and do nothing but read. If I put the book down, I might not ever come back to it and finish. This is part of what I love about airplanes and airports. I don't care if I'm there an hour ahead of time because I finally get to read something sizable. In an attempt to help myself with this problem, I've been reading short stories and leaving books in the bathroom.

The problem with leaving books in the bathroom is that I end up staying in the bathroom for a very long time. I stay so long that when I try to stand up, I realize that I can't feel my atrophied legs and nearly stumble.

It may be late for a new year's resolution, but I'd like to do quite a bit more reading this year than before. And I'd like most of those books to be outside of the computer science field because they're probably the worst writers in the world (philosophers come second, I'm sure). So with that -- and my realization that, as a developer with a BA in philosophy, I have absolutely no shot at becoming a good writer -- I bid you good night.