Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Your New Library


If at this point, you lost your personal library due to fire, flood, divorce, would you replace most of it in print books?

Or would you probably depend on ebooks for most of your reading?

What would be one or two books you would definitely still need to see on a shelf?

27 comments:

George said...

Four years ago, Western NY suffered a freak October snowstorm and we lost our power for two days. Water, not fire, destroyed hundreds of books in my basement until I finally found a generator to get my sump pump going again. The result of this disaster accelerated my donation of books to SUNY at Buffalo. But I haven't become an ebook junkie. Jack Vance's books need to be on my shelves.

Heath Lowrance said...

The question is just too horrible to contemplate. I can't do it.

Anonymous said...

But George lost only a small fraction of his collection, thankfully.

If I had the money, time and space I'd collect paperback originals. I have hundreds, many signed/inscribed. That said, there are no books I have to have on my shelves, just BOOKS, if you get my drift. We're still considering an e-reader but it will never replace "real" books.

Jeff M.

Dana King said...

If I could only have two "real" books, I'd pick reference type books that are more often flipped through than read cover to cover, as e-books don't translate well to that kind of reading. The Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract comes to mind right away. I have another book of photographs of old baseball parks I might like. If I'm just going to read the words, an e-book will be fine. Not that I don't love books, or don't still buy them. If an entire library was lost, replacing the books would be a practical concern.

Naomi Johnson said...

I'd have to have books on shelves. Especially the stuff I still re-read: Peter O'Donnell, AA Fair, Georgette Heyer. Even Florence King. Always have to have a complete Shakespeare and a Bible, Robert Frost's poetry and Byron's. Definitely Craig McDonald because of all the notes I take when I read his books.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I don't think I would replace any specific books other than Megan's. Most reference books I use are online now. But I would certainly begin to buy print books again because we have about a million bookshelves to fill. My husband would tell a different story.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Yes, books of photos would rank high.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Patti, I agree with Heath. I can't even think of something like this happening, not after I lost some rare Phantom and Mandrake comics to termites. Since then, I have never been able to replace them.

J. Kingston Pierce said...

I would replace my library exclusively with print books, even though it would be more expensive. And I'd start by buying Larry McMurtry's Lonesome Dove, all the novels of Raymond Chandler, Ross Macdonald and Dashiell Hammett, Jules Verne's Around the World in 80 Days, Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End, and Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals. But heaven forfend such a tragedy should ever occur. I'd be devastated.

Cheers,
Jeff

Al Tucher said...

I would have to replace The Living Lincoln (a book of his writings) and two volues by Evan Connell: A Long Desire and The White Lantern. Both are collections of essays on historical topics that intrigue the author, such as the legend of Prester John, the journeys of Ibn Batuta, and the Crusades.

Dan_Luft said...

All 12 volumes of Ralph Dennis's Hardman series -- a paperback detective series from the 70s that is worth the money to buy again. Not available as ebooks.

It might be fun to mark up a new copy on Moby Dick again.

Richard S. Wheeler said...

I write as an old man. Print books on shelves are an expression of who I am. E-books are ephemeral and transitory and vanish into the ether, and from memory. When I am surrounded by my library, I am filled with a sense of self. There are beautiful books, with gracious covers. There are elegant books, especially Knopf's Borzoi books. There is, in a library, a sense of my life lived, old treasures, some disappointments, often grace and insight.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I don't think I have any irreplaceable books but I bet some of them would be difficult to find.
But I would be delighted for an excuse to buy a few I've never had should insurance kick in.

Charles Gramlich said...

I'm like Heath I don't even want to think about this.

Rick Ollerman said...

What Richard Wheeler said, followed by an exclamation point. A book is a book, an e-book is a computer file. The scroll button on my Kindle is failing now, making it very difficult to open anything. That means something, too.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Print books are less likely to betray us.

Ron Scheer said...

I am a book accumulator; there's something in me that hates an empty bookshelf. I did, however, find a use for the screen saver on my nook that lets it cycle through covers of books I've read. I like being reminded of them that way as I use my nook. Like running into old friends in unexpected places.

Gerard said...

I would probably enjoy the extra space. The only books I usually buy are library discards. I buy those to read later and never get to them anyway.

At the end of 2010 I considered limiting my reading for 2011 to only the book we owned and I never read. Did not happen.

Cap'n Bob said...

Are you familiar with the term "sati"? That's when a Hindu widow throws herself on the fire when her late husband is being immolated. I would do the same to my pile of burning books. Maybe.

Deb said...

Prior to Hurricane Katrina, we had a "library" in a spare bedroom. Books that we'd accumulated over the years on wall-to-wall bookshelves. Like Richard and others, I loved being surrounded by our books which were a reflection of my life and my husband's life and our lives together. Katrina spared most of the books, but not a good portion of the house, so off to storage the books went while on-going repairs took place. (No one is surprised that the contractor finished about 3/4 of the job and never showed up again, right?) Finally, about a year ago, we got the books out of storage. I did a massive cull at that time and donated many books to the Friends of the Library. I stil have 25 boxes of books stacked in my garage. We're trying to figure out what we're going to do with them because our children have grown since Katrina and now use the formerly spare room as a bedroom. I don't want to get rid of the books, but space in the house is at a premium. I don't have any signed/first editions or any rare or valuable books (that I'm aware of) just years of accumulated volumes that I can't bear to part with. However, if (Heaven forfend!) another disaster carries away my books, I don't know if I'd replace them to any great degree. I suppose I'd just continue to accumulate new ones.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Just talking about that custom last night and although I love my books (and my husband) I don't think I could do it. Even though I might want to. I'd have to use the garage. Although since I don't drive, I might screw up starting the car.
My rule is anything in boxes after a few years gets pitched or donated.
Except for my daughter's dolls and dollhouse, which she still seems to think she will some day need.

Gerard said...

she still seems to think she will some day need.

Ship'em to New York.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Have you ever seen the size of NY apts? Her books take over every spare space.

Dorte H said...

One thing is sure; I would grieve!

I would probably feel the sensible thing was to buy most of the books I really wanted as ebooks. I like reading ebooks on my Kindle, but having a home with no books on the shelves? Not sure that would feel like home. So I just hope it will never happen :)

Yvette said...

I have several books inscribed to me personally by authors I admire, so I'd miss those first. Heck, I'd cry my eyes out if I lost my books.
Can't even think about it.

Richard R. said...

It probably comes as no surprise that I would try, as much as possible - insurance money being one factor, to replace as many of the print books as possible. The ones that are OP and no longer available even used in good condition I'd probably just sigh about. E-books? Nope,

Rob Kitchin said...

Well, I'd keep buying print books - I still haven't got an e-reader and if I do buy it'll only be so I can get to read e-only books. As to how many I'd replace I don't know. I don't do much re-reading. Probably only a dozen or so.