Those of you who enjoy shopping for books are invited to ponder this question with me: If you had to stop buying books today, how long would it take to read (or re-read) through the goodies already in your personal library?
In my case, I estimate over a decade, assuming I’d be working during that time. Even if I found myself under house arrest with a court order not to have cable, I’d still have at least several years of good reading in front of me.
Having a collection of books sufficient to dub a “library” means a lot to me. I’ve never cared much about furniture, interior design, clothes, kitchen gadgetry (ask some of my friends about my dishwasher story), and most other home accoutrements. However, having bookshelves filled to the brim…well…that’s my idea of material success. I haven’t counted my books at home, but I estimate they number around 2,000, with a healthy chunk — maybe a third — being at least somewhat work-related.
Now, as far as getting around to reading them, well, this is a problem. I work pretty hard, and a lot of my reading is related to various writing and research projects, which means using non-fiction books and articles mainly as resources, not cover-to-cover reads. That brainwork can leave me a little fried, and at the end of the day I might prefer to watch a good TV show or a movie.
I keep telling myself that all the unread books will wait for retirement, whatever and whenever that is, as I don’t intend to ever truly “retire.” If I am so blessed to have more leisure time 10 or 15 or 20 years down the line, then I will enjoy many pleasant hours with my library.
Nevertheless, I don’t want to wait that long to dive into many of these good books, so I’ll have to continue to find ways to sneak some quality reading time into my life.
In the meantime, the books are on shelves, or sometimes in piles. That’s okay. They are my inanimate friends, and more than a few have sentimental value to me. I can look at some of my favorite books and immediately recall stories associated with them. Such is a life grounded in geekdom, but I consider myself fortunate in that regard.