Alchemical Thoughts

A Personal Library: Some preliminary thoughts

Posted on: October 7, 2008

I have recently seen a few pieces here and there about the concept of a personal library. When I moved out of Houston to take my current job, I had to do a major weeding of my book collection. For one, it was for practical purposes: we could only carry so much given it was just the better half and me doing the move. Two, we did not have a lot of space in the new place. Three, I had not weeded for a while. Anyhow, I have been pondering writing some kind of post about having a personal library and what kind of items would be essential. As usual, I don't have a lot of time to write it fully, so I am just making some notes here for later.

Here are the items that stimulated my thinking:

  • From Britain's The Guardian's Books Blog, not quite about a personal library, but this piece on "Getting remaindered is not the end of the line" got me thinking. I do buy a lot of my books as remainders when I can. Obviously it is cheaper for starters. And two, often I can get the hardback instead of the paperback. However, I tend to be selective when it comes to my books, and sometimes a paperback is fine. It depends on the book, etc. Anyhow, this article did give me some food for thought, plus it has a couple of interesting links. I may have to add the Books Blog to my feed reader at some point too.
  • Donald Altschiller, writing for The Wall Street Journal, gives a small list of books essential to a reference library. This is the piece that prompted my thinking. I wanted to write a post with a list of my own, adding things not on the WSJ list, and make it a bit longer maybe. Still thinking on that one.
  • The Freakonomics Blog asks as well which books have to be in your reference library.  
  • Also writing for The Wall Street Journal, June Fletcher explains why libraries are coming back in style. This refers to home libraries. This goes along, for me at least, with the fact I have my own workstation room at home. It does have my small library, but it is not TV free, and my small laptop. I get a good amount of writing and blogging done there. I set it up when I went to graduate school, and since then, every place we live, I have to have my own space for study. It's basically my writer's room. By the way, if you need some inspiration to make a writing room of your own, or you are just curious, The Guardian has a series on famous writers' rooms. Worth a look.
  • Blake at LISNews asks which reference book would you like to see made into a movie. I just thought it would make a cool prompt. I will also admit that for at least one of the titles on Blake's list, it would have to be a porn film (or at least an erotica film). 

Anyhow, this is just an idea for now. Maybe later I will be able to make the essay or post I would like.

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