I won’t read all the books I own. After downsizing everything else in my apartment-mansion, I will be honest with myself about the books I own that I want to read. I will donate or sell any books I’m not compelled to read. An outdated videography book currently sits in my donation pile. It and others represent skills, stories, or somethings I won’t need – for now. If I do, I can always buy them again.
How will my ideal home library look?
I would only want to display the books I’ve read, am reading, or will next read. If I wanted to possess a lustrous library of obscure oddities offering realities realized through text… what a perverse thought! There are many libraries like those around the world! My own library should, then, cast a gaze into my world, just as these libraries cast their gazes into their worlds.
I wonder if I’ll use my library as a gym?
I would want to keep my physical and sometimes mental fitness reference books. While you can read them cover-to-cover as narratives, building the reader into a better person, their truest value comes from trying a routine or thinking about something read once and refreshing your memory.
Fiction reading isn’t as casual an endeavor.
What if you only read a book once every ten to twenty years? If you’re someone like me that is not interested any longer in being chained to a desk or area but must work within such conformance confines to become free, such a book would be a minor anchor. Let’s say it was, even, some obscure book. There should be some nearby library that owns it, if not, it’s probably digitized at some price point.
I think we value appearance more than applicability.
My library would not be some stuffy room. It would be a room, perhaps one of many incarnations of “Zeal,” that represents applicable disciplines. I’m focused on self-improvement, learning to write better, and fiction. If it doesn’t fall within the broadest considerations of those categories, then what use is it?
I’m not a videographer. Why keep such a book?
I’d like to go browse bookstores for applicable curiosities, uncommon rarities, and maybe selling or donating seldom-used books, unless I know others that might want to read them. Dusty books can be dusted and cared for within libraries or bookstores as they’ll be cared for by bibliophiles. We should not own books we aren’t tending. Those bibliographers may find neglected books and feel empathy toward them, placing them prominently for new readers to consider.
Do we do that ourselves? What would we do with neglected books?
Proudly proclaim that we will someday read them? What purpose does that show? Books are best used when they’re read. If a sentence read can change a lifestyle, what’s the use of the unread sentence? We can only learn through application. That won’t happen if our skills or books atrophy.
I think large, dusty, underused home trophy libraries are overrated.
|Sources: My personal experiences.|
|Inspirations: I once valued having large collections of things. Now I value a tightly-curated collection of specifically valuable items. If our values don’t align, I respect yours if you respect mine, and if you don’t respect mine then whatever, man, and if you’re not a man, that’s a general statement, dude, and if you’re not a dude, then man, what’s really up? I mean, I don’t want to own thousands of books I’ll never read. I am fond of the aesthetics of certain books. I’m not overly fond of The Great Gatsby but the copy I read in high school with blue cover is the definitive copy in my mind. I could read others but that sort of worn paperback represents the book for me. That said, if I found another copy when I want to read it again, I wouldn’t be traumatized. It’d be like driving a new type of car if you’ve only driven one car your whole life.|
|Related: Other Downsizing Zeal essays.|
|Photo: The visual elements are always the toughest for me. I was wandering around somewhere and found this technical document on the side of the road. Not quite the same dust I was writing about…|
|Written On: August 17th [25 minutes, mobile]|
|Last Edited: August 21st [Minor edits throughout the essay and substantial edits in the first paragraph. Here’s the first paragraph’s first draft: “I won’t read all the books I own. When I finish downsizing the rest of my apartment-mansion of my myriad casual hobbies, I will be ferocious in my criticism toward what books I own that I will read. Those books I will donate or sell, like an outdated, smokey videographer book in my donation pile, represents skills, stories, or situations I won’t need – for now. If I do, I can always buy them again.”]|