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Old 10-20-2012, 03:03 PM   #1
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My 6,128 Favorite Books

My husband left this for me this morning:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...923017090.html

This is an article from Joe Queenan's new book, One for the Books, out on Thursday from Viking.

The Title: My 6,128 Favorite Books. Subtitle: How a harmless juvenile pastime turned into a lifelong personality disorder.

I stumbled out of bed, and as I was waiting for coffee, I started reading this. I couldn't stop. It is wonderful. Although near the end he has a rant against ebooks, the rest of the article is just breathtaking. One example, an explanation of why he hates people assuming he will like a certain book because of this ethnicity:

Writers speak to us because they speak to us, not because of some farcical ethnic telepathy. Joseph Goebbels and Albert Einstein were both Germans; does that mean they should equally enjoy "Mein Kampf"? Perhaps this is not the example I was looking for. Here's a better one: One of my closest friends is a Mexican-American photographer who grew up in a small town outside Fresno, Calif., and who now lives in Los Angeles. His favorite book is "Dubliners."

It is a joke in our familly that I am an ebook hoarder (I also have more pbooks than most, in bookcases, bags, etc.). I have almost 5000 in Calibre. This article really spoke to my obsession with books. My "So Little Time, So Many Books" philosophy.

I think Mobileread members with really enjoy this.
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Old 10-20-2012, 03:37 PM   #2
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The librarian of the adult wing of my hometown library refused my first attempt to check out books, when I was about 12. I told the juvenile wing librarian, who walked with me back to the other desk. She said: "Let him check out what he wants. He's already read all the books I have." It was an exaggeration, but not much of one. The periodicals and reference sections were on a small floor above the juvenile section, and I'd been through those, too, by that time, and she knew it. Encyclopedias are boring to read straight through. I only got through C of Compton's, I think it was, but further through Britannica - the latter had better writing. Dictionaries are better reading, there's something interesting on almost every page.

Last edited by derangedhermit; 10-20-2012 at 03:40 PM.
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Old 10-20-2012, 05:25 PM   #3
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I agreed with the article up to the point where he eschewed ebooks and ereaders. While I might look at a cover and go "oh yeah" in remembrance of a story, I just don't get that "it's a book, I've got to have a physical book" fetish.
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Old 10-20-2012, 08:27 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sydney's Mom View Post
It is a joke in our familly that I am an ebook hoarder (I also have more pbooks than most, in bookcases, bags, etc.). I have almost 5000 in Calibre.
This makes me feel a little less guilty over my comparatively paltry 1500 ebook collection.
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Old 10-20-2012, 09:50 PM   #5
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This makes me feel a little less guilty over my comparatively paltry 1500 ebook collection.
Give yourself a couple years!!
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Old 10-21-2012, 03:16 AM   #6
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I only have 1900 eBooks and have been collecting since Riding the Bullet came out
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Old 10-21-2012, 10:03 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by derangedhermit View Post
The librarian of the adult wing of my hometown library refused my first attempt to check out books, when I was about 12. I told the juvenile wing librarian, who walked with me back to the other desk. She said: "Let him check out what he wants. He's already read all the books I have." It was an exaggeration, but not much of one. The periodicals and reference sections were on a small floor above the juvenile section, and I'd been through those, too, by that time, and she knew it. Encyclopedias are boring to read straight through. I only got through C of Compton's, I think it was, but further through Britannica - the latter had better writing. Dictionaries are better reading, there's something interesting on almost every page.
here
Our tiny town had a bookmobile in the summer - I read its entire contents (juvenile & adult & periodicals) in around a month - fortunately it had an understanding librarian that, among other things, provided a footstool for me to reach the adult fiction on the upper shelves.
The librarian guided my "adult" choices (I too was around 11 - 12) and used to bring an extra stack of new books each week for me. She saved me from total boredom in the summers.
[I too found the Britannica the best encyclopedia reading]
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Old 10-21-2012, 10:34 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sydney's Mom View Post
My husband left this for me this morning:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...923017090.html
I misread your first line to be 'my husband left me for this....', and thought to myself 'yes, he probably would' (me).

Quote:
Electronic books are ideal for people who value the information contained in them, or who have vision problems, or who have clutter issues, or who don't want other people to see that they are reading books about parallel universes where nine-eyed sea serpents and blind marsupials join forces with deaf Valkyries to rescue high-strung albino virgins from the clutches of hermaphrodite centaurs, but they are useless for people engaged in an intense, lifelong love affair with books. Books that we can touch; books that we can smell; books that we can depend on. Books that make us believe, for however short a time, that we shall all live happily ever after.
2 ½ years ago I might have agreed with that.... but no more. Should we take away his books and give him an ereader for oh a month and see if his opinion changes?
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Old 10-21-2012, 02:02 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by derangedhermit View Post
The librarian of the adult wing of my hometown library refused my first attempt to check out books, when I was about 12. I told the juvenile wing librarian, who walked with me back to the other desk. She said: "Let him check out what he wants. He's already read all the books I have." It was an exaggeration, but not much of one. The periodicals and reference sections were on a small floor above the juvenile section, and I'd been through those, too, by that time, and she knew it. Encyclopedias are boring to read straight through. I only got through C of Compton's, I think it was, but further through Britannica - the latter had better writing. Dictionaries are better reading, there's something interesting on almost every page.

This reminds me of own experience. When I was about 11 or 12 I was finally allowed to borrow books from the adult section of the library. My first book was Benjamin Thomas's bio of Abraham Lincoln. then i decided I was going to read all the books in the library. i divided it into 4 sections fiction, sf, philosophy and humor for starters Got through all the sf and the A's in fiction was a slower slog through the other 2 categories. then i went to college I figured I would pick up where I left off. To my dismay when i got my library card from the Boston Public Library( a great building by the way) I discovered they used the library of congress cataloging system rather than the Dewey decimal system so I sort of started over...lol. Fifty years later I still make feeble attempts to continue my goal. At least now that I am retired it keeps me busy..
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Old 10-23-2012, 09:25 AM   #10
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I misread your first line to be 'my husband left me for this....', and thought to myself 'yes, he probably would' (me).



2 ½ years ago I might have agreed with that.... but no more. Should we take away his books and give him an ereader for oh a month and see if his opinion changes?
I don't think he's wrong. He's just more sentimental than some of us. Or more of a collector. I happen to be both. Some people keep paper photograph books over digital photo libraries. To each his own.
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Old 10-23-2012, 10:00 AM   #11
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I can definitely relate to this article. I was around 10 when I received my first library card (Free Library of Phila.). I would go and get as many books as I could carry out at a time. I knew the librarians and they all knew me. I was so lucky to have a library with a very large collection. I always had something to read and keep me occupied.

I also could not understand the reason to have an ereader when they first came out. Wouldn't an ereader take away the pride of having an extensive book collection stored in various bookcases throughout the house? It was not until I moved into a smaller place that I have to face the possibility of losing books in my collection forever. That is when I looked back at ereaders and I have never looked back. I have had an ereader now for about 18 months and my collection now stands at 635 books with more to be added into Calibre as I get time. While I know what the person in the original article is going through, once they enjoy an ebook, I think that their attitude might change.
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Old 10-23-2012, 12:42 PM   #12
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It has always seemed strange to me that so many people - even readers - sneer at reading as escaping from reality. People don't look at watching TV or movies that way. People use "reality TV" with a straight face, and actually think it has something to do with reality.

This person likes paper books, which is just fine. But he complains of people "foisting an unsolicited values system on another person," and then goes on to do the same, with what books and what formats are worthwhile.

He writes "Some people may find this attitude baffling, arguing that books are merely objects that take up space. This is true, but so are Prague and your kids and the Sistine Chapel. Think it through, bozos." That bozo couldn't think his way out of a paper bag.

His analogies are laughable. Prague is a city, and a city is inherently physical. It is impossible to live in a digital house. You can, however, read a e-book. Likewise, children are inherently physical. A digital child isn't a child.

The Sistine Chapel analogy is especially flawed. Most of us have never seen the Sistine Chapel in person, and never will. But we have seen pictures and video of it. If I were to follow his reasoning, I should reject such pictures as unacceptable.

People aren't baffled by his attitude. Rather, he's projecting, he's baffled by people who read e-books. We find a picture of the Sistine Chapel acceptable, even though it is a pale imitation, so why should an e-book be any different. It's the same words.

He said "I've never squandered an opportunity to read," but that's one of the big reasons people read e-books, having an entire library at your fingertips. I have about 1,000 paper books in my house. I have over 20,000 public domain books on my computer. I could never obtain or store those 20,000 books if I had to get them on paper.

So, to this Bozo, I can only say read all the paper books that you want. But understand that not everyone thinks like you.
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Old 10-23-2012, 04:28 PM   #13
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My Calibre Library is currently at 16,367. I know I can't read them all in this liftetime but I still can't stop collecting.

PS. That doesn't include any Sci-Fi, you could could probably triple it if they did.
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Old 10-23-2012, 04:34 PM   #14
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My Calibre Library is currently at 16,367. I know I can't read them all in this liftetime but I still can't stop collecting.

PS. That doesn't include any Sci-Fi, you could could probably triple it if they did.
I'm not worthy, I'm not worthy!
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Old 10-23-2012, 08:35 PM   #15
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A digital child isn't a child.
Tell that to my Sims.
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