Sunday, August 7, 2011

First Officer's Log No 36: Ack!ademic Leanings and Readings

I took something of a cue from Jon and sat down to take a look at my bookshelves, or, rather the two bank boxes, five cubes, and one reluctant desk shelf that amount to bookshelves in my apartment. My scholarly tomes (did I really just say tome?) are relegated to one bank box, wedged up against the corner of the living room beside the DVD tower, packed full of movies and video games, while the second bank box contains untold papers, almost all articles, academic scribblings, and at least two half-photocopied books that I couldn't find in physical form outside of a university library.

It astounds me, to a degree, to realize how ridiculously complicated I made my academic life when I was a Real Academic, as opposed to the Amateur Post-Undergrad Academic that I am now. That is to say that I still view the entire world through academic eyes, as well as possessing a tendency to critically evaluate all of my entertainment as though it were a liberal artistic specimen to be hacked to pieces during a long, drawn out debate amongst fellow students, and then repaired with a pen and a great deal of patience.

I suppose, then, that when I examined the cubes in my room that contain books, I wasn't entirely surprised to find that they are mostly filled with urban fantasy novels, several paperback mysteries, a number of classics, some contemporary Serious Fiction, the odd poetry collection, and several volumes of Nietzsche and Aquinas. There's also some film and literary criticism that I picked up on whims throughout the years, because, apparently, at some point, I reached the Point of No Return when it came to books: if it's interesting or likely to hold my attention, then I'll buy it, read it, and probably shelve it away until such time as I can pass it on, read it again, or pack it away for a rainy day.

The truth is that I used to have a collection of about 800 books. While not a staggering number, it's a big enough number to show that I had quite the book addiction. When I moved out of my parents' house, I must have whittled that collection down to about 300 books, which quickly became 150 due to the presence of friends, libraries, and a pesky little brother who kept nabbing the best books for himself.

The collection has grown somewhat in the past 3 years, and has evened out at about 275, by my last count. It's curious, since I haven't owned a proper bookshelf in years, that I can still find what I'm looking for. I have a good feeling for where the book might be, and I suppose that I classify my book cubes to a degree. I know that most of the 'junk food fiction' (mysteries, urban fantasy, et cetera) are on the left hand side, and the more serious stuff is on the right. There are also piles of history books around the bed. I don't need shelves. I just stack them neatly, according to point of interest. Hence why all the military history is within arm's reach of the bed.

Books are an addiction, ask anybody in the store. The fun part, though, of this particular addiction, is that you get to explore, have adventures, solve mysteries, and appreciate other lives, all from the comfort of your bed or your favorite chair. It's why books are fantastic, and why even an ac(k)ademic like me (I now owe the pun jar a quarter) can learn to look past the book-as-specimen and just appreciate the book as a book.

Until next time, fellow bibliophiles.

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