Mar. 1st, 2011

shalanna: (SallyBrown)
I need to divest myself of a great number of books. I won't re-read all of these, and I don't need all of them for reference, and there simply isn't enough storage space to keep everything.

But! I don't like e-reading. It's tiring. I have an eye problem anyway. And I'm thinking about the lifespan of each format, too.

For example . . . my husband's grandmother, towards the end of her life, began gifting me with a few of the hardcover books off of her shelves. These books might be a bit foxed, and they might have wear on the bindings, but they're still perfectly readable. Many of them date from the 1940s and 1950s. I only have ten or so of these books, but they've lasted. Books from my childhood have also held up pretty well (the few that I still have). Softcover books are a bit more fragile, but I've picked up eBay copies of many of Jack Douglas's old comic reminiscences and the Shell Scott detective stories that originally cost 60 cents at the supermarket and are still perfectly readable today. Oh, and copies of all the "I Hate to Cook" books by Peg Bracken. Old cookbooks are some of the coolest finds around, even if you don't make the recipes. I love to find the spattered ones or the ones with handwritten notes and corrections!

So I will be able to read these books for years to come, or just prop them around the room if I like.

On the other hand, there are many digital files from five or ten years ago that have become worthless or difficult. They're in formats that the common programs don't want to read, or they came off an old BBS and are on floppy disks or memory sticks and therefore at risk of being lost . . . I know that I've lost digital files many a time. They can get corrupted or you can lose the ability to unpack the archive. Even text files can go crazy.

I'm really reluctant to buy into the concept that you buy a book as an ebook file and then everything lives happily ever after. It does take up less "room" in a sense, but it's not really "there" in the same way that a physical book is. I can't pick it up and dip into it in the same way. And if the file format goes obsolete and it has DRM on the file . . . well, then it becomes a brick.

Now that Random House and others have adopted the "agency rule" about pricing e-books, there will probably be even more fighting out there.

It's tough to relinquish these physical books. "They got the library at Alexandria--they're not getting mine" has been my motto for years. Of course I wouldn't give up the special books and the ones that were passed along, but I do need to weed out all the paperbacks that I bought to "support" some published author after I heard him/her speak and was all impressed . . . but as it turned out, I didn't really like the novels. Those people aren't goin' out there to get MY books, I tell you what. So why should I hang on to all of theirs?!

Putting on the armor for another try at the living room bookcase. Surely I do not STILL need "Introduction to RVing."
shalanna: (nap cat)
March, I thought, would come in like a lion, judging by the last few days of February. But the wind has died down, and I suppose it arrived seeming more like a lamb.

Were we in ancient Rome, we'd have celebrated Matronalia today, in honor of the goddess Juno. Women got presents from their husbands and daughters, and husbands offered special prayers for their wives. Women were also expected to prepare a meal for the household slaves (who were given the day off work), as Roman men did at the Saturnalia.

The only bit I got to do was fix food. Here, today, the slave did not get a day off! Sometimes I wonder how in the heck other people do it. We only have three adults and one spoiled dog in this household, yet enough trash is carried out the door that you'd think we ran a private school. And there are ALWAYS dishes in the sink, and the dishwasher always cries to be emptied. (It's spoiled, too, just like everything else I own.) No one else can empty it, you see. It's some sort of unwritten rule. They put their dishes in or around the sink, and they magically get rinsed or scrubbed and put into the washdisher! It's magic! Same with clothes and the washing machine. Did you know that some people actually have a laundress? Yes. It's amazing.

I tire of this bright world. We need some time floating down the river. It's time to plan a tubing expedition.

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shalanna

November 2012

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