Tag Archives: library

The Wonderful and Terrible Habit of Buying Too Many Books

Gabe Habash -- February 16th, 2012

Not pictured: annoyed roommate

“…ownership is the most intimate relationship that one can have to objects. Not that they come alive in him; it is he who lives in them. So I have erected one of his dwellings, with books as the building stones, before you, and now he is going to disappear inside, as is only fitting.” -Walter Benjamin, “Unpacking My Library”

Last weekend, I found myself killing a Saturday afternoon at one of my favorite bookstores, McNally Jackson. I didn’t go with any specific book in mind. I walked out with four books: Stoner, A Meaningful Life, A Fan’s Notes, and The Intuitionist.

This past weekend, I found myself killing a Saturday afternoon in Brooklyn, at what’s becoming one of my favorite bookstores, Book Thug Nation (extra points for the gentleman working the desk, for his great conversation on horror books and films). I didn’t go with any specific book in mind. But they had this handsome Dell edition of The Circus in the Attic, complete with green gilding, for $1 and they had this edition of Wise Blood, which you can’t find anywhere and is far prettier than this ugly thing. I walked out with those two books, as well as Knockemstiff and The Castle in the Forest.

Depending on how you feel about books, you could call this either a habit of mine or a problem of mine. Either way, one thing it is is a pattern, something that repeats itself, that exists in its very repetition, that manifests itself on the bookshelf in my apartment and, because it’s a long-lived pattern, in piles seven and eight tall on the floor of my bedroom.

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What are Occupy Wall Streeters Reading?

Gabe Habash -- October 13th, 2011

The Occupy Wall Street Library (also known as The People’s Library), maintained by a number of volunteers, has been getting lots of press coverage (here, here and here). Among the titles to be found (all of which are listed at LibraryThing), is everything from Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra to Captain Underpants and the Big, Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy.

Now, thanks to Chelsea Green Publishing, the People’s Library can expect 1,500 new books–a number that more than doubles their current inventory of 962. The books are composed of 20 titles from Chelsea Green’s catalog, including Economics Unmasked, The Challenge to Power and The End of Money and the Future of Civilization. Chelsea Green, which has a focus on books on the politics and practice of sustainable living (they’ve printed books on recycled paper since 1985), sent the books to Occupy Wall Streeters c/o the UPS store on Fulton Street. The publisher hopes that “this might inspire other publishers to get into the act and on the side of the people.”

What Will Amazon’s ‘Netflix for Books’ Do to Libraries?

Gabe Habash -- September 12th, 2011

Amazon is at it again–this time looking to open a lending library for digital books (also covered here). The details: Amazon is supposedly discussing with publishers a way to get books on the e-tailer’s digital platform so users could read an unlimited number for a subscription fee. The digital library reportedly would be part of Amazon’s growing Prime services, which put unlimited streaming video under its umbrella earlier this year, in addition to giving subscribers free two-day shipping for $79/year. Amazon’s digital books library, which would basically operate like a “Netflix for Books” (as a side note, it seems relevant to point out that Netflix has had problems since Amazon’s Prime Streaming Video feature was added), would, like every announcement Amazon makes, momentously affect others. This time, those “others” are libraries.

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