Christine Smallwood has a thoughtful review in the June 9 & 16 2014 New Yorker “Ghosts in the Stacks” of Phyllis Rose’s The Shelf: From LEQ to LES.
Smallwood raises some issues about reading of considerable interest to me:
- how we choose books today has been dramatically changed by technology (our preferences and reading habits are monitored and curated
- what scholars read and how they read has changed (a distinction is made between close reading and surface reading)
I was appropriately admonished by her last paragraph:
And what about the books right in front of you that were published, even purchased, but, for all you know, might as well not have existed? My own bookshelves are filled with books I haven’t read, and books I read so long ago that they look at me like strangers. Can you have FOMO about your own life?…The alphabet is great, but there is nothing quite as arbitrary as one’s own past choices. Reading more books begins at home.”
Timeout on buying new books to read until I review what is filling my home office bookshelves. This is also a wonderful opportunity to use my LibrarianPro app.
Hmm—32 books in shelf # 1 beginning with father-in-law’s 1927 copy of the Best Known Works of Edgar Allan Poe and ending with Philip Tetlock’s Expert Political Judgment. How delightful!