Watercolour by Lars Lerin (photo taken by me at an exhibition in 2010)
Deb’s Booking Through Thursday question for 14th April, 2011
“In a related question to last week’s–
I was reading the other day a quote from JFK Jr who said on the death of his mother, that she died surrounded by family, friends, and her books. Apparently, Jackie’s books were very much a part of HER, her personality, her sense of self.
Up until recently, people could browse your bookshelves and learn a lot about you–what your interests are, your range of topics, favorite authors, how much you read (or at least buy books).
More and more, though, this is changing. People aren’t buying books so much as borrowing them from the library. Or reading them on their e-readers or computers. There’s nothing PHYSICAL on the shelves to tell strangers in your home, for better or worse, who you ARE.
Do you think this is a good thing? Bad? Discuss!”
My answer from last week will tell you that I very much surround myself with books; and yes, even if I also borrow from the library, and use the computer, my books do say something about me and my life. (As do my photo albums, and CDs, and DVDs.)
On the other hand, not a whole lot of complete strangers enter my home nowadays. If I hold on to my books it’s for myself; not really for other people.
Social habits are changing too – I mean in society at large, not just mine. The new way to show others who you are – including what you read, and what you listen to – is probably your website, your blog, your Facebook account etc. And most likely you share those with more people than those who physically enter your home.
I’m not sure I believe in extremes, either way. I suspect computers and printed books will continue to co-exist for some time yet, because we rather like to surround ourselves with “things”. But I think comparisons also need a bit of historical perspective. Go back one hundred years and very few people had a ‘library’, an even smaller number had a telephone, and radio was still just an experiment… Personalities, however, have existed for much longer. And we still read and retell stories today of personalities who lived hundreds and even thousands of years ago. That, I think, is something that will not cease to fascinate us.