emptying some bookshelves

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Erin at Unclutterer mentioned a genuinely useful piece from the Moonie Times: "Closing the book on a bad read." Tyler Cowen, an economics professor at George Mason University who finishes one book out of every five to 10 he begins, is quoted as suggesting that "We should treat books a little more like we treat TV channels:"

"If I'm reading a truly, actively bad book, I'll throw it out," he says. His wife will protest, but he points out that he's doing a public service: "If I don't throw it out, someone else might read it." If that person is one of the many committed to finishing a book once started, he's actually doing harm. [...] "We're also making markets more efficient," Mr. Cowen says. "If you can sample more books, you're giving more people a chance."

My fellow bibliophiles may find the concept of discarding books to be anathema, and Beatrice's Ron Hogan has more agreeable advice:

"Don't slog your way through books just so your reading list will conform with other people's ideas about what's hot or what's smart. Find the books that compel you from first page to last."

I could probably pare my shelves of a hundred or two volumes without losing anything especially valuable--from either a financial, literary, informational, or sentimental sense--so perhaps it's time to enrich the stacks at some of my local libraries.

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on August 6, 2009 6:16 PM.

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