Info Gluttony

Literary DNA

Posted in books by echan on December 29, 2009

Once I had moved enough times to let go of the idea that I had to keep every book that I read in college, book culling became somewhat easier.  And although I have a couple of friends who once bee-lined for my bookshelf so that they could deliver an assessment of my literary tastes, I rather like Billy Collins’s attitude on discarding books:

Frankly, I am well into the second phase of life when one begins to enjoy getting rid of all the stuff one enjoyed accumulating in phase one. And who needs such elaborate announcements of one’s literary credentials?

After all, is a gentleman’s library of floor-to-ceiling bookshelves anything more than a vanity? Now if I can just get rid of all the mirrors in the house.

Another writer, David Matthews, describes my past approach to shelf-editing, “Soon, my bookshelf is lean. All muscle and bone. All that remains is my literary DNA.”  This is a good reminder that it’s time to shed some fat from my shelves (mainly gifted novelty books, and novels that I quit reading for lack of enthusiasm 50 pages in).


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  1. pooj said, on December 29, 2009 at 3:41 am

    heh, read that article today. got rid of a lot of books this summer on and selling on amazon. really, did i need the two lesser know zadie smith books which were fine but not great? with that attitude, i whittled away merrily…

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