We have been discussing what to do with books for some time. We have less than I once owned, and more than he had when I moved into his house. Which means it is more than we want to move (again) but less than we’d like to have at our fingertips if we’re researching something. 

On the other hand… both of us read much more if we have the title available in ebook. Paper is awkward to carry and whip out while standing in line, during a lunch break (ok, not so much, but it’s still easier to read on a smartphone then). We have many titles to choose from if the one we’re reading isn’t working for us. Or we finish one book and want another. It’s easier to search, to bookmark, and to highlight, in an ebook.

The modern world encroacheth. But it’s not the end of reading. In fact, it’s the birth and renewal of reading for us, in many ways. 

Which led to some conversations about books. And the ownership of books, and what to do with our own tsunduko. We agreed that we own a lot of fiction that could be thinned, either because we had it in ebook and didn’t value it enough to have duplicates, or simply that we weren’t going to re-read/read that particular title. Non-fiction, research materials, books that will be used in the homeschool, those needed to stay.

And my antiques. I’ve been collecting antique books since I was a little girl, and I love the old books, with their brittle paper, their beautiful gold inlaid titles and decorations, and their artifacts of long-dead owners before me. Now, I’m less likely to ever read these, since many are in public domain and available as free ebooks. But I do regard them as my favorite sort of home decor. I’m not a big collector of tchotchkes, but books? Books like these I will collect, and display, and when we’re in a forever home, we’ll have softly lit glass-fronted bookcases for them. Because I am a bibliophile, and he humors me.

8 thoughts on “Bibliophilia

  1. Did somebody mention me?

    Oh, Bibliophilia not Bibliophile! 😉

    I got rid of too many books during my various moves which is why I now love eBooks.

    Most people don’t imagine how heavy a book of paperbacks are but I know (and I suspect you know as well). 😉

      1. I understood! And yes, I do know. Given that all of my NH library to make the trip was shipped, and I sold the other half of the library to pay for that… I do miss some of those books, but many more I don’t even remember now.

  2. I have well over a hundred books in hardback and e-book. I can’t bear to divest myself of the hard books. Some were gifts from family or great friends both with and without special inscriptions. They are tucked away in a bookcase where they will remain just in case of the EMP bomb!!

    1. We have… 7 bookcases full right now. Not counting the kids’ books. I think we’re trying to thin that down, or at the least tighten up the collection to must-owns. (and I owe you a book, my friend!)

  3. One of my prized possessions is a 14-volume black bound set of books called “the Complete Works of Teddy Roosevelt”. They were owned by my Paternal Grandparents, passed to my father and then to me. Everyone in my family read them through the growing up. My brother and father were into the various western and safari hunting volumes. Me, I preferred the two volume Naval War of 1812. But either way, so hard copy books can’t be tossed, and are valuable.

    I had to look up Tsundoku, and finally asked my kids. They thought you meant Tsunduko: the condition of acquiring reading materials but letting them pile up in one’s home without reading them. Yes, one needs to sort down eventually.

    Thank you for another excellent column.

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