Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Today it was time to return E.H. Gombrich's A Little History of the World to the library. Given the state of my reading life, which includes 2 400 pp. dissertations plus a couple of slightly slimmer ones this month, I wasn't able to finish it, but I have a feeling I will go looking for it again, at the library again. I recently read somewhere or other online a writer, tongue only slightly, I think, in cheek, exhorting readers of his note to buy books rather than get them from the library, that by checking them out instead of purchasing them, one risked being complicit in cutting careers short in this bottom line publishing world we live in. My thought on this was, what about those of us who buy so many books it's almost like a disease or some tyrannical compulsion, who buy so many there have to be stopping points, momentary pauses, fingers periodically stuck in the dam, etc., and use the library at those junctures?

I suppose part of my thought was that I would hate to imagine a bookshelf that would, without question, finally collapse if another book was added to it, collapsing under the weight of one of my own books, which could as easily have been checked out of the library and so placed in the small stack of library books by the door or in the hallway or under the staircase or in whatever nifty place the household in question keeps such books.


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