Archive for September 19th, 2011

Why do we love books so much anyway?

19 September 2011

By Kevin O’Sullivan

I’m in the midst of a move at the moment – to the University of Birmingham – which means that I’m going through that thing that we all dread: sorting out my books. The ‘what to bring’ pile must, of course, end up smaller than the ‘what to put in storage pile’, but never seems to get any lower than the ‘I’ll definitely need this at some point in the next two years’ pile. It’s a fascinating but painful process, trying to figure out what’s worth taking, what could be, and what should be boxed, quite possibly never to see the light of day again.

I’d barely begun yesterday afternoon when the questions came. (Well, actually, the match came first, but why let one fascinating story get in the way of another.) Why is there so little fiction? Should I give this back or are the seven years since I borrowed it enough for squatter’s rights? The questions were followed by fascination: where did this come from? Is this even mine? And then of course came the guilt: why did I buy this if I was never going to read it? And, indeed, should I put it into the to-read pile now?  Read More