Brian G Turner
Fantasist & Futurist
- Nov 23, 2002
Something needs to be done about these book shelves...
I love my books. I have a book addiction. Every now and then I like to simply look at my book shelves and admire the titles there - fond reads and soon-to-be fond reads (as I eventually work my way through my to-read list).
I know I've sometimes kept titles because I've always imagined talking to visitors about them. My shelf of epic fantasy books is a good example of this, and how the strengths and weakness of different authors and titles could be discussed.
But no on really ever visits my home, not even before lockdown. Because I've mostly always worked from home, I don't tend to go out into the real world and so I've tended not to make friends in the real world. Living in a small town means there probably aren't many people with similar interests at all. And having two scary German Shepherd Dogs seals the issue of visitors.
So I've finally realized the need to not be so precious about some of my books. And that has begun with my epic fantasy bookshelf. And my historical fiction shelf.
I buy the Kindle version of most new books as well as favorites anyway. So there's no need to keep the paperback versions of my Joe Abercrombie or David Gemmell books when they're already on my Kindle. Same for Robert Fabbri's Vespansian series and Conn Iggulden's Genghis Khan series. Plus there are books I doubt I'll ever read again, and even if I'd like to talk about them, there's no one here to discuss them with. So they have to go as well.
But once I started removing these books - and there were quite a lot on just those two shelves! - I felt like I'd dismantled part of my sense of identity. The books on my shelves define me in some very visible way that my Kindle books cannot.
I do love my Kindle books. But rather than look at my Collections on there, I prefer to look at my Wishlists on Amazon for books I plan to get next - not least because textbooks can be expensive and I need to budget carefully. My Wishlists also form a part of my self-identity I think, though not as much as the books on my shelves.
It's strange how a visual display, only usually seen by me, can form a part of that. And it's strange how it's harder to achieve that in digital terms.
Still, even though I need to get rid of more books - ones I've carried over for years - there are plenty of books on my shelves, and there will remain plenty of books on my shelves. And as quite a number of textbooks on my Wishlists aren't available as Kindle books, there are many more coming.
I am sure with that my sense of personal identity will change. And, who knows, perhaps I'll be able to speak with other people in person about them, too.