why hang on to books?

Jessica asks an important question:

why do you hang on to books? I try to give the good ones to friends and if i cant send em off i try to give em to libraries. i never understood that, they get so dusty and cumbersome and if i want to reread them they are in the library… i remember you commeted to me once about how you owned way more books to make some point about how you were much more literate than me.

I certainly hope that I wasn’t using the size of my book collection to make some sort of claim to superiority, but if I did or it seemed I did, I apologize.

One might also ask : why have more than two pairs of shoes? You can just wear one pair over and over until they fall apart. It’s of course a different scenario, but (1) it is more convenient to have more than two pairs of shoes and (2) it brings one aesthetic pleasure to be able to dress in different ways. Having hundreds of books is then the wardrobe equivalent of being Imelda Marcos, but the fundamental two points remain — keeping books is convenient and pleasurable (to me at least).

I do lend books to people, and sometimes I just give them outright, in an indefinite loan, or tell them to lend them to others. Sometimes I have a book for years (Civilwarland in Bad Decline comes to mind) before giving it to someone. However, some books I have are relatively hard to find in libraries or so popular that they are invariably checked out. If I donated all of my books to the local public library or the university library, perhaps 10-15 of them would make it into circulation (reference material mostly). Almost all of them would go up for sale in order to raise funds for the library, which is a good cause, but hardly the most desirable result, which is to give that particular copy of the book a wide readership via library circulation.

That being said, I have used BookCrossing and other systems, and I do prune my book collection by selling things back to used bookstores or donating to the library. But I think there are reasons to have books beyond avarice. The only time I find them dusty and cumbersome is when I move — which I am doing this month, so perhaps I will change my tune then (EDIT: no, I haven’t found a place yet, and I think I am going to go insane).


my first baseball game

This probably comes as no surprise to those who know me, but I have never been to a major league baseball game. However, I have been to a few college football, basketball, and vollyball games, so it’s not so much that I am generally sports-illiterate as specifically baseball-illiterate.

Being the baseball nut that she is, Erin insisted that I go to an A’s game while she was visiting, so last night we went with my friend Bobak to see the A’s battle it out with the Mets. It was not much of a battle — the score was 5-0 and Erin called the end time of the game to the minute at 9:30. We had a good time, even though the game was rather fast and uneventful.

The most exciting part was when the Mets were about to score (bases loaded, 1 out, as I recall) and the A’s made a double-play to hold them scoreless. I think that part of the reason I never really got into baseball was the pace of the game — long stretches of nothing, essentially, followed by one or two moments of genuine tension and excitement. It makes for an anaerobic workout. This is, of course, where scoring comes in. Keeping score during a game requires you to pay attention to everything (although depending on the scorecard, the level of detail can vary), and thus you have to be really watching the game. Perhaps I will try it the next time I go.

As it turns out, we should have gone tonight, when bleacher seats are $2 and hotdogs are $1, but I think two games in a row might be a little too much for inexperienced me. But perhaps I will go to another game at some point — I still prefer football and basketball, but baseball has its place too, I suppose.