19 November 2013

Book Walls

My computer is currently walled in by books. Lots and lots of books - fifty or so of them. And the desk is shored up by another dozen or more on the floor beside it. That's life in the grad school lane.

They're not all mine - some are (an ever-increasing proportion, I have to admit), but most of them are library books. I'm lucky enough that even though I live in a semi-rural area, I have access to the library of one of the biggest universities in Canada, which just happens to have a campus in town here. With the library card from my distance ed uni, the locals let me take out anything I like, and even send me books from the big city campus if I ask. And I ask - you better believe it. And then there's the public library, which netted me some couple dozen books for my research this time. It'll be heavy lugging taking all that stuff back when the time comes.

You know, I like real books. I enjoy reading ebooks on my ebook reader, when it's novels or short stories (like fairy tales!) which I'm reading for amusement. But for research, for non-fiction, give me a real book. For keeps, give me a real book. For looking up information, give me a real book. For knowing that I have the book in my collection - you know, when I run across that obscure reference to Andrew Lang, and I can say "Hey, I've got that on my shelf downstairs!" - give me a real book.

Real books are not dependent on electricity; if the power goes out, I can still read by candlelight. Real books don't suffer from file corruption or obsolescence - I got my copy of the Brothers Grimm in 1987, and it's still perfectly good, barring a bit of yellowing of the pages. On real books, I can stick sticky notes all over the margins, so I can find the quotes again which struck me while I was reading them.

And of course, real books make great walls around your computer. If I wasn't sitting in my office (aka bedroom) by myself anyway, I still wouldn't need a cubicle for privacy - I have book stacks to do the job.

Life, the Universe, and Grad School Book Walls. Better get back to studying.


  1. I LOVE real books, but I birthed a book tearer, and after seven years of his reign of terror, I'm lucky I have any books left. Thus the eBook has become the ultimate source of safe reading for me. Do you know how frustrating it is to get into the middle and find a missing page or chapter?

    1. Argh, that would be hideous! Actually, the worst would be missing the *last* page or chapter; I think I could cope better with a missing middle. When my kids were at the book tearing (and eating) stage, my books were all really, really high up. And there were lots of non-tearable board books within short-people reach by way of decoys.