So I saw this article linked on social media The value of owning more books than you can read. So, of course, I needed to read it to justify my book-buying habits.
I found this concept interesting:
The antilibrary’s value stems from how it challenges our self-estimation by providing a constant, niggling reminder of all we don’t know.
The idea of having more books than you can read is a reminder of both the aspiration to contain the knowledge within and the acknowledgment of your ignorance in so many subjects.
Much better than the term “antilibrary” is this:
His preferred label is a loanword from Japan: tsundoku. Tsundoku is the Japanese word for the stack(s) of books you’ve purchased but haven’t read. Its morphology combines tsunde-oku (letting things pile up) and dukosho (reading books).
For myself, my book buying habits do not really outstrip my ability to read them. I pretty much read all the books I buy, along with review books, and public domain ebooks I download. Looking at my book software I see I currently have 28 unread books. This includes several that are in various states of currently reading. Still, I know these books will be read sometime in the immediate future.
What is probably more aspirational are my various wishlists. I have several of these wishlists in different formats and I am always planning to consolidate them. Yet that would take time better spent reading.
As much of a dumpster fire social media can be, it has been great regarding book buying discernment. I have many trusted readers and reviewers whose opinions I rely on. This is super helpful to create a higher quality experience in choosing what books to read. At one time I would just go to the library with only the “This looks interesting” criteria, along with trusted authors by experience. The first criteria was not a very good one and seldom led to authors of the second criteria.
My main problem is that I am a bit of a completionist. If I find a series or author I like – I want to immediately read the whole series or all of the authors works. Too often this gets assigned to the limbo of my wishlist. Especially as my completionist tendencies get interrupted by other series and authors to complete.
One of my evidences for God is based on C.S. Lewis’ “Argument of Desire”, here explained by Peter Kreeft:
- Every natural, innate desire in us corresponds to some real object that can satisfy that desire.
- But there exists in us a desire which nothing in time, nothing on earth, no creature can satisfy.
- Therefore there must exist something more than time, earth, and creatures, which can satisfy this desire.
- This something is what people call “God” and “life with God forever.”
My desire to keep adding books I can’t possibly all read, can only be satisfied if my soul is immortal.
I am really hoping the Beatific Vision includes a reading room.
I just realized that before setting down to write this post, I had been browsing to try to find a new bookshelf. I really hate double-booking my current shelves and laying books horizontally on top of others. I am mostly happy that ebooks have mostly solved this problem for me, otherwise, I would need a TARDIS for book storage.