Monday, October 14, 2013

Books Like Whoa: On Curation and Selection

I have a moment every so often that nearly brings me to tears. The location is inevitably some bookstore or library. The occasion is my gazing around at the countless bookshelves around me. The feeling is the awareness that I will never be able to read all of these books. Well, that's the first feeling. It is swiftly followed by acute existential despair. 

It doesn't even have to be a book collection as big as your typical public library or local bookseller. My own personal library routinely bums me out. I have approximately 650 books, of which I have not read about 250. And that doesn't include the couple hundred free books I've piled up on my Kindle (totally doesn't count, right? Out of sight out of mind...). Between a mountain of school reading and the desire to do something besides hang around with my nose in a book, when am I going to read all these?

Whenever I read articles like this, it further reminds me of the limits of my reading time here on earth. There are only so many books I will be able to read in my lifetime. There is only so much space I have in my home and on my digital devices to hold books. How do I decide what books to procure? How do I determine which books to read? 

I normally have some sense of purpose in reading, but with my "job" being so focused on reading, it's getting harder and harder to find my personal reading voice these days. I don't really have an answer of how to balance pleasure reading with things I have to read, at this point. I only hope I can get my book hoarding procuring habit under control until I figure that out...

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