Monday, 9 April 2012

Finally dealing with this book thing

I’ve mentioned my ‘book issue’ before. It’s this silly, irrational attachment to my adventure/expedition books. When I moved 15-months ago, my stuff went into storage and included were boxes of books. Sure, I thinned the collection before moving but there were still a good number of them in boxes – I’d estimate the number at easily over 100.

Keeping books in boxes in a storage garage is somewhat like having pretty diamond jewellery in a safe. You know they're there and that they're possessively yours but they're just sitting there doing nothin'. What’s the point really? Surely fabulousness should be shared?

While in Thailand I decided to move towards detaching myself from this book bond. Think about it... even the books that I have completely loved and delighted in ‘living’ the adventures in their pages I’ll probably never read again. There’s just too many new (and old) adventures to read about to re-read ones I’ve already enjoyed.

And then, at 3am in Dubai airport I bought a Kindle. I’d been walking up and down for two hours and what else do you in Dubai airport at 3am other than buy cool gadgets? Unintentionally I got one of the new fancy ones with full colour, the Kindle Fire. Although the battery isn’t that of the Kindle readers, it does allow for the download of books with pictures and also magazines. Boom – two birds with one stone.

On Monday I pulled all of my boxes of book out of storage and on Friday I sorted through all of them. I’ve also realised that what is more important to me than the physical book is the memory of it. In 20 years I may want to read about one or other mountaineering or polar expedition and I don’t want to have forgotten about it. So, I made a list. Of the book titles and authors. And just looking at the list of names is almost as good as looking at the book to trigger my memory of the adventure and pleasure of reading about it.

Today I finished sorting through the books and have whittled my book collection down to four piles.

There are those I’m sending to a friend in the E. Cape, which will be donated to rural school. These include my ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy (given to me by my mom for my 13th birthday) and other fun odds. The few fiction books that I’ve hung on to over the years are ones I won’t forget. I re-read ‘Lord’ before the first movie came out – that must have been over 15 years after I first read it. So, I figure that if I want to re-read it in another 15 years I’ll buy it digitally.

Then, there are the books to ‘share’ – this is the bulk of them. I’m working on a plan for this – more in another post in, hopefully, a few days.

And then there are the unread books, which will go to the ‘share’ pile once I’m done. I went through a phase a few years ago where I got my hands of loads of adventure books at book sales and second-hand stores – more than I could read before another would arrive. I got behind.

There are the ones that I’m not yet able to let go of. These include Ranulph Fiennes’ ‘Mind Over Matter’, which he signed for me in 2002 when I attended a breakfast talk he gave in Jo’burg.

I also attacked my home-office this weekend. Magazines, magazines, magazines. G.O.N.E. No more paper – gonna get them on my Kindle. From now on.

Most days I’d happily toss my technological demons - phone and email - in the trash, but these e-readers are a technology to be embraced. I’m looking to it as the means to strive towards a paper-free home environment – books and magazines included. After this weekend’s endeavours I’m feeling very chuffed and nicely liberated.

1 comment:

Staci said...

It's a hard step to take but as you say, but once you've done it, it's liberating. There is nothing better than reading a book on kindle in winter - you can keep your hands under the blanket! No more freezing cold hands turning pages.