Thursday, March 10, 2011


A couple of weeks ago I listened to a piece on the radio that had a panel of writers discussing their collections of books. The gist of it was that they would never consider getting rid of any of their books. They all described their libraries, their houses full of overflowing bookshelves and their bedside to-read stacks, and the big question to discuss was "Could you get rid of your books, or are they a meaningful possession?" Of course they all agreed that their books are their most prized possessions and talked about how looking at their bookshelves was like a trip down memory lane and how their books tell the story of their lives.

Which I agree with in theory. But I don't have many books; I'm a library girl. My first real job was at a library and I love visiting the library. I rarely buy books, because they're expensive and bulky and reading them is so temporary and storing and moving them is forever. I love receiving books and I do buy art books and used books and cookbooks - things that I'll read again and again. This thing on the radio got me thinking that maybe I'm missing something. I keep a list of what I read but that's mostly to help jog my memory when I can't think of the name of a book, or who wrote something I read, but I don't have a visual record of my reading.

The other day I came across a website called Shelfari, and I guess the idea is that you can make just that - a visual compilation of what you've read or are planning to read. It's affiliated with Amazon, so I guess they want you to buy the books, but I plugged in all the books I've read in the last year, minus a handful they didn't have in their catalog, just so I could take a look. Kind of neat, but I think I'll stick to my list. Anyway, I don't have an extra wing in my house for a library!

1 comment:

  1. Good for you for keeping a list. Mine has major gaps in it - I forget about it for months at a time. However the Vancouver Island Regional Library has a brand new feature where they will keep a list of the books you've borrowed and let you add other books and reviews and comments. I haven't figured out all the possibilities yet, but I've signed up and filled out the privacy waivers and am excited about seeing whether or not it might work for me. Ellen