Thursday, 14 April 2011

BTT: Personality


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.


  1. Good answer. Here's mine:

  2. Yes, I agree that these various types of books will co-exist. Nothing can replace the physical book experience completely.

    Here's MY BTT2 POST

  3. My friend was recently showing me her new Kindle computerized tablet book reader. Anyway, two of my friends have them now. I guess they have a good purpose, no heavy books or keeping flattened pages, no storage space taken up. And you can choose a new book without leaving the house. But will people in the future miss the wonderful small of new books in the book store? The opening of a new book the first time, the crisp pages, the wonderful blurbs and pictures on the dust cover, wandering among all the colorful titles? It kind of takes the fun out of the purchase.

  4. I am happy with real life books and my kindle books. I read for myself so I don't really much mind if people see my books or not.

  5. I still prefer the actual book.

    Stop and see mine and my giveaways.

  6. I haven't actually seen a Kindle or similar yet! What I do appreciate is that one is able to find really old books for free on the internet now. If one finds a quote from an old classic and wants to check out the context a bit more, for example, one can just look for it online.

  7. As lover of books, I enjoyed reading this post! :)

  8. Oh I forgot to say, that for three or four hours today I'm helping to set up a used-book sale at my local library. (I'll likely purchase a few too.)

  9. I don't own a Kindle yet but I'm thinking of getting one. I agree that fewer people come into our homes and that it is through Blogs and other social sites that people learn about us, and about books. I've bought many a book that I learned about on someone's Blog.

  10. In 1976 a colleague and good acquaintance moved to a house 100 yards away making him and his family our closest neighbours. All the books packed away in the house they had been renting suddenly came into view. Waiting for him one morning I was idly looking at his books and for some inexplicable reason I asked him if he minded. "I certainly do." he replied "You can tell far too much about a person from his books." I've never forgotten that.

    I have a whole wall in my living room covered in books. Whilst I am able to live in my current house I cannot ever envisage those books going. They are a part of who I am and they are a part of what the house means as my living space. My Kindle will have it's own role in my life. I should add that as yet many of the reference books such as bird and insect identifiers are not available on Kindle anyway.

    And nothing will ever replace the feeling of rummaging round a second-hand bookshop (or, nowadays, the book sections of charity shops) or browsing bookshops.


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