A Bit Of A Book Problem

Angular owl keeping books from flying off

Yesterday, I posted about my Shelves Of Special Things, which contain bric-a-brac that I’ve collected over the years. Several astute readers also noticed all the books in the background.

I have a lot of books. I’m a bit of a book hoarder. I have a nostalgic love of books going way back to when I was a shy kid whose social life consisted mainly of riding my bike to the library for another haul and returning to one of my favorite reading spots where I could easily get lost in someone else’s world all day. When my real life was so horrible, when I was abandoned and betrayed and abused, books were my escape. They still are.

I read a lot and I’m still of the old school mindset where I prefer physical books to reading on an electronic device. I love their texture, smell and heft. I love curling up with a real book. I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that, as a graphic designer, writer, digital artist and blogger, I spend a good deal of my time staring at a computer screen, so when I want to unwind with a book, I don’t want to stare at another computer screen.

Another part is that I absolutely abhor digital rights management. If I buy a book, it’s my book. I should be able to loan it to a friend, deface it, burn it or read it again twenty years from now. You can’t do that with e-books. Fuck that. If I buy it, it’s mine, dammit.

That said, my books are becoming a bit of a storage problem since I am always buying and never getting rid of them. I have three giant bookshelves and each of them is stacked full of books. There is no room for more. It’s come to the point where I’m just stacking them on the floor like so:


The rest of the books on my bookshelves are sorted roughly by author and country, while these are just willy-nilly stacked. What’s worse is that I’ve read almost all of them with the exception of the Asian cinema books since those are more browse-y than read-y; the book on Hamas, which I don’t feel like reading at the moment, because it will probably just piss me off; and the book on learning Finnish, which I bought at a thrift store a thousand years ago, thinking that I’d like to learn my ancestral language. That notion was quickly dispelled when I saw just how many vowels there are in the Finnish language with diacritics. As a stupid American, I have no idea what to do with an umlaut.

My options are go out and buy more books that I have no place to store, or go ahead and give this new-fangled reading on an ipad thing a try. I have an ipad. I mostly use it for surfing the net and playing games. Perhaps, in the interest of not becoming a full-blown hoarder qualified to be on a reality television show, I should try e-reading.

To that end, I’m asking for reading suggestions. If you’re into e-reading, where do you get your books? Keep in mind that I won’t buy anything from iTunes (see the paragraph on digital rights management above) and I prefer not to pay money to publishers for books that were written a hundred years ago when the author is long dead. Actually, I prefer free, which is why I’m a big fan of the public library. Support your public library, folks.

Suggested reading is always encouraged, electronic or otherwise. What’s the best book that you’ve read in the last year?