Getting Shit Done

Books Unread

Quoted Building an antilibrary: the power of unread books (Ness Labs)

Unread books are as powerful as the ones we read. An antilibrary is a private collection of unread books capturing the vastness of the unknown.

“I feel increasingly comfortable buying books I may not be able to read for a while. All of these unread books remind me of endless opportunities for learning, and make me humble.”

Anne-Laure LeCunff

I struggle with having books unread, which I feel weighing on my like a to-do list sometimes, and I itch with the urge to read it so I can cross it off my mental list. But, I also like to surround myself with interesting options and visual inspiration, so I can grab something when the desire strikes. I like LeCunff’s attitude here.

“A private library is not an ego-boosting appendage but a research tool. Read books are far less valuable than unread ones.”

Nassim Nicholas Taleb on Umberto Eco’s relationship with books

I’ve been trying to get more comfortable, also, with keeping around books that I have read so I can read them again. I don’t need to check them off my list and get rid of them right away 😉 I tend to purge my personal library hard every few years, donating piles of books to the library (including lots of indie and small press comics that are not replaceable so hopefully the library added them to their collection instead of selling them :/ ). I treat the public library as an extension of my personal library, with books cycling in and out constantly (aside from COVID times – the seven months since I last went to the library is probably the longest I haven’t been in more than five years) so I have tried to share back with the library as I can. But I also am working on building up my personal library these days, especially my art book collection.

By Tracy Durnell

Writer and designer in the Seattle area. Freelance sustainability consultant. Reach me at She/her.

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