Signifiers of Home

January 5, 2010

in Place,Process,Words

There are “Books You Can Live Without“? Really?

The NYT’s Room for Debate blog makes this claim, and asked six book enthusiasts how they go about the task of choosing what stays on the bookshelves, and what should go.

My own attitude is closest to that of Joshua Ferris:

“Books are notes from the field, bound and domesticated, life brought into narrow focus. Get rid of a book? No way. Every one is a brick keeping the building standing. Books are my life. I leave and come back, and the books I find there tell me I’m home.”

I can only hope he’s joking about piling books on top of his wife — well, unless she’s into that kind of thing.

And Fred Bass, co-owner of The Strand Book Store, summarizes the economic conundrum that lurks within every book-purging project:

“When you’re all finished, think of selling your books to the Strand! Though we’ll definitely buy the quality books you plan on discarding, we really want the books you’re keeping.”

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