Lighter

(Note, this post is not meant to be construed morbidly. If anything, I’m more positive than I’ve been at any point in my life)

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It’s the last day of Ramadhan and I’m reminded that I won’t always have another.

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I’ve always loved books. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t feel reverence for them. I look after my books. I take care not to damage the spines. It’s only in recent years that I shed my last fig leaf and started marking up my books. I still don’t feel comfortable doing that and don’t think I ever will be.

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I remember doing a rough calculation in a year I’d read 50 books and was in despair when I realised that even with a long life, at the rate I was reading, I wouldn’t get through more than 3000 books in my entire life. If ever you want a picture of mortality, it’s right there, in that number.

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I buy and read books voraciously, but the two are not always in sync. I will occasionally, rarely, read borrowed books, but most of the time, I will buy books I will never read.

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I aspired to a library of Coelho’s proportions, where the value lay not in the books he’d read, but in the ones he hadn’t. So by that measure, I have always had a valuable library. And now there’s the bloody Internet.

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In the last few years, I’ve made the switch. It’s been gradual, but I’m there now. Nearly all of my reading is done on an electronic device. Either a Kindle or a Retina iPad. It’s almost nonsensical to have a dead tree product that weighs more than a Kindle. Any argument for the physical in my eyes is purely sentimental, and I’m feeling my mortality this month sufficiently to realise that in my case, this is becoming increasingly true.

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So I’m divesting from wood-pulp. Have a look at my list below. If you know me and want any of these, give me a shout and I’ll save for you. Pictures below too. Most of these books are in perfect condition, like new, even if they’ve been read. 

My bookshelves are in a nod to Parkinson’s Law, still full. That is, “No matter how many books you get rid of, your shelves will always be full”.

Here’s the list, you’re welcome to it, contact me if you’re interested in any of these (it’s gone already if crossed out):

  1. Stephen King, Danse Macabre
  2. White Teeth, Zadie Smith
  3. Shopped, Joanna Blythman
  4. Any Human Heart, William Boyd
  5. How to Invest When You Don’t Have Any Money: The Fool’s Guide, Christopher Spink
  6. How To Make Money From Property, Adam Walker
  7. A New Earth, Eckhart Tolle
  8. Something to Tell You, Hanif Kureishi
  9. The Art of Changing: A New Approach to the Alexander Technique, Glen Park
  10. Red Earth and Pouring Rain, Vikram Chandra
  11. Self, Yann Martel
  12. The Rules of Life, Richard Templar
  13. The Rules of Work, Richard Templar
  14. Using SQL, Groff & Weinberg
  15. House of Bush, House of Saud, Craig Unger
  16. CSS The Missing Manual, David Sawyer McFarland (O’Reilly)
  17. Programming Python 2nd Edition, Mark Lutz (O’Reilly)
  18. Learning Python, Mark Lutz & David Ascher (O’Reilly)
  19. Python Standard Library, Fredrik Lundhn (O’Reilly)
  20. Programming Perl 2nd Edition, Wall, Christiansen & Schwartz (O’Reilly)
  21. Agile Web Development with Rails Second Edition, Dave Thomas & David Heinemeier Hansson
  22. JavaScript for the World Wide Web Fifth Edition, Tom Negrino & Dori Smith
  23. MySQL/PHP Database Applications, Jay Greenspan & Brad Bulger
  24. Anyone Can Do It, Sahar & Bobby Hashemi
  25. Foundation ActionScript 3. with Flash CS3 and Flex, Webster, Yard & McSharry
  26. Affluenza, Oliver James
  27. Love’s Labour’s Lost, Shakespeare
  28. A History of Warfare, John Keegan
  29. No Logo, Naomi Klein
  30. The Language Instinct, Steven Pinker
  31. Manager’s Book of Checklists, Derek Rowntree
  32. The Audacity of Hope, Barack Obama
  33. The Blank Slate, Steven Pinker
  34. Schott’s Almanac 2006, Ben Schott
  35. Is it Just Me or Is Everything Shit? Volume Two, Steve Lowe & Alan McArthur
  36. The 5-Day Course in Thinking, Edward de Bono
  37. Tales From the Thousand and One Nights, Penguin Classics
  38. Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller
  39. The Tibetan Art of Positive Thinking, Christopher Hansard
  40. Shite’s Unoriginal Miscellany, A. Parody
  41. Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
  42. A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking
  43. Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace, Gore Vidal
  44. Nine Parts of Desire, Geraldine Brooks
  45. London Fields, Martin Amis
  46. Candide – and Other Stories, Voltaire
  47. Talk to the Hand, Lynne Truss
  48. One Red Paperclip, Kyle Macdonald
  49. Intimacy, Hanif Kureishi
  50. Captive State, George Monbiot
  51. Emergency, Neil Strauss
  52. Meditation in a Changing World, William Bloom
  53. The Naked Lunch, William Burroughs
  54. The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins
  55. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Mark Haddon
  56. Superforce, Paul Davies
  57. Beyond Reengineering, Michael Hammer
  58. Unix in a Nutshell 4th Edition, Arnold Robbins (O’Reilly)
  59. The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie
  60. The Moor’s Last Sigh, Salman Rushdie
  61. Fire with Fire, Naomi Wolf
  62. The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic, Sophie Kinsella
  63. The Trouble with Boys, Angela Phillips
  64. High Fidelity, Nick Hornby
  65. The Buddha of Suburbia, Hanif Kureishi
  66. The Business, Iain Banks
  67. The Fatherland, Robert Harris
  68. The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, Sogyal Rinpoche
  69. Complete Tales & Poems, Edgar Allen Poe
  70. The Oxford Companion to the Mind, Edited by Richard L. Gregory
  71. Mr Jones’ Rules, Dylan Jones
  72. The Prophet’s Way, Thom Harmann

 

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