Who needs all those books?

Stanley Fish is getting rid of almost all of his books. Even the ones with all of those notes in the margins.

As someone who almost compulsively collected books for a long time, it’s impossible to imagine making such a move. Surrounding yourself with books is representative of a continued pursuit of something. Something new to learn, some new perspective, some new connection between rational choice theory and existentialist philosophy. Having a home library is symbolic, and, I’ll admit, aesthetically pleasing too. But it serves a practical purpose of having access to great minds and entire worlds- right in your own home.

Will there ever come a day when I, like Professor Fish, send the books away? After all, I’m not going to go on forever.



  1. RSMattson · · Reply

    I have actually started cutting down on the collection. We’re moving in August and again next year depending on the job market, and I figure an extra three boxes of books are not worth it. My Kindle library keeps growing, which is accessible on a less heavy reader. I’m thinking a lot of people are already cutting back on the collections and keeping those they like best. I wonder how Bradbury felt about e-books?

  2. RSMattson · · Reply

    For the record, my CD collection has shrunk from over 300 to thirty, and I’m pretty sure if I ever get a car with an iPod connection that those thirty are going to shrink to three.

  3. Been thinking of doing the same now that we have another move coming. My definition of books that I’d like to have on my shelves with the hopes of one day reading them has changed since college – and now that I’m actually getting through some of them, it makes less sense to keep the ones that are way down the list.

    I still have a tough time getting on the e-reader thing, since I like to make so many notes in books. Have they made progress in annotation support and such? Also, e-books don’t smell as nice. 😦

  4. I do have a few CDs on my shelf, but really only those that are special collector’s editions (a couple of Mingus albums, for example). It’s all digital now.

    Going to invest in a record player?

  5. […] posted recently about Professor Stanley Fish getting rid of almost all of his books, and how I couldn’t imagine doing it. As I […]

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