From the age of 18 to 33 I spent about 12 years working in bookstores – a Borders in my hometown of Fredericksburg, VA and a college bookstore in Richmond, VA after I moved down here to finally finish school at VCU.
The Borders years in particular (1997-2001) were very formative not just for a growing-into-adulthood Jay but also in my interests in music and books and the subsequent collections because it’s hard not to take advantage of a generous employee discount and put all of your money back into the biz when you don’t have much in the way of bills. Most of my existing library and boxed up CD collection is a consequence of these years.
Borders also provided an opportunity to discover new works thanks to review copies of books and CDs that allowed us booksellers to be informed and upsell certain works (mainly the books – most of my review copies of CDs would come from the college radio years at WVCW (2005-2008)). In some cases those books were entirely new authors (to me or anyone else), in others it was a way to get my hands on the newest book of a favorite author before anyone else. Only a handful of these Advance Review Copies (ARC) remained in the library all these years later but they remain as little memories of those halcyon days of being young and carefree and stuff.
A new project for me to never complete: photos of the books that make up my library.
“Never complete” because I’ll probably forget I started it and/or there are a LOT of books and/or I’ll keep getting more so it’s never ending anyway.
Not all of my books are educational or highfalutin, but all of them are here for a reason beyond just being a hoarder of books.
And, before anyone asks, no, I haven’t read all of them. And probably never will. In some cases I worry I’d wreck the book because of it’s age and I have it more for historical or personal reasons. In other cases I ascribe to Umberto Eco’s “Antilibrary” which Nassim Nicholas Taleb covered in Black Swan (which I own and will photograph at some point):
The writer Umberto Eco belongs to that small class of scholars who are encyclopedic, insightful, and nondull. He is the owner of a large personal library (containing thirty thousand books), and separates visitors into two categories: those who react with “Wow! Signore professore dottore Eco, what a library you have! How many of these books have you read?” and the others — a very small minority — who get the point that a private library is not an ego-boosting appendage but a research tool. Read books are far less valuable than unread ones. The library should contain as much of what you do not know as your financial means, mortgage rates, and the currently tight real-estate market allows you to put there. You will accumulate more knowledge and more books as you grow older, and the growing number of unread books on the shelves will look at you menacingly. Indeed, the more you know, the larger the rows of unread books. Let us call this collection of unread books an antilibrary.
So many of these, sure, I’ve read. Many more I WANT to read because they’re knowledge I have yet to gain. Or mindless reads I’m waiting for a good vacation or retirement (HA! HA HA HA HA HA! I’m going to die working.) to get to.
I’ll be presenting these largely without context beyond my owning them. Maybe I’ll feel compelled to provide a backstory or explanation. Maybe not. We’ll see. It’s a lot of books.
Enough with the intro and excuses! Pictures of books!