Remote Book Storage

Thanks to Casey, I\’ve rediscovered the library. While it would be great to have a Netflix-like hold system, I\’m already pretty happy with how far libraries have come since I was in elementary school (the last time I really used them). There\’s a library two blocks away from me. I can request any book available in most of the Boston suburbs online, and it will be sent to the library that is just a minute away from my house. It operates about as quickly as Amazon\’s Prime shipping (as long as you don\’t care exactly which book shows up), and you don\’t need to find space for more stuff in your house. I\’m also a member of the Boston library, in case I need anything that the Minuteman Network can\’t provide.

Libraries are particularly good for read-once books, like fiction. So I should be able to get rid of most of my fiction books no problem, right? I think they can be broken down into a few categories. I have books that

  1. are valuable in-and-of themselves (first editions, etc.),
  2. I actually refer back to often enough that it\’s worth having a copy on-hand,
  3. are involved enough to require study and commitment over longer-than-library-loan periods (like Finnegan\’s Wake)
  4. I keep around for nostalgia,
  5. I keep as a record of what I\’ve read, and
  6. I keep as a list of things to read.

The first three groups are small and justifiable. The fourth and fifth can be replaced by some sort of \”what I\’ve read\” list, like those available on Facebook or any number of other places. The sixth is just me looking for stuff to buy on Amazon, I guess. Things I\’m interested enough in to queue up on a shelf.

I think the sixth group is actually detrimental. There\’s no urgency in having to read them. They\’ll always be on that shelf, and I can postpone them indefinitely. I think the three-week deadline of library books will keep me from postponing them as well as help me avoid the paradox of choice. It\’ll be weird getting rid of books I haven\’t read yet, but I think it\’ll be the biggest help to make me actually read more.

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