Oberlin Blogs

My book addiction

July 21, 2009

Chris Gollmar ’10

I have a habit of picking up library books that look interesting, checking them out, bringing them home, and letting them sit around for months on end. For the most part, I end up turning them in without having cracked them open more than a couple times, without having read more than a few pages. I’m not an avid reader by any means: in fact, I read pretty slowly and not very carefully. There are just too many interesting books in Oberlin’s libraries to ignore.

Of course, I typically have a lot of required reading and additional research for many of my classes. Those books pile up too, but I’m not really talking about them. I mean the books that I find by browsing recently acquired titles or look up after I read about them on some blog or on Wikipedia. Occasionally, I’m just curious about a subject and see what Mudd or the Conservatory library has to offer.

This summer hasn’t really been an exception. There is a growing pile of books on the floor, desk, and shelves of my bedroom. At last count, I’m “reading” eight books checked out from the Conservatory library, the main library, or one of the OhioLINK system libraries plus a few more that I own myself or friends and family have lent me. Inevitably, this makes for pretty slow reading all around, especially considering I do have a job and a handful of other things keeping me busy this summer.

So what am I reading? First, my mom lent me Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver and family, a sort of memoir about her family’s year spent eating only what they could grow themselves or buy from their neighbors. It’s certainly an exciting book to be reading in Oberlin, if only because I know I can talk with just about any of my friends here about the local foods movement and they’ll totally be on the same page with me.

Earlier in the summer, I thought my Spanish was going astray, so I checked out a couple of books from Mudd to keep it in my system. I’ve been wanting to read Antes Que Anochezca (Before Night Falls) for some time, so I picked that up. In wandering the stacks I also found a slim book by Argentine writer César Aira called Cómo me hice monja (How I Became a Nun). It seemed short enough, pleasant enough, so I thought I’d take it with me too.

Lastly, I have a respectable stack of books mostly from the Conservatory library about listening. I’m working on a sort of individual project (details later!) on the subject and wanted to do a little background reading. “A little” reading in this case is about six books (and another that I placed on hold).

In short, I don’t really know when I’m going to find time to finish any of these books. Of course, maybe what’s more important here is that fact that I have access to so many books that I haven’t read. (This concept has been called an antilibrary.)

Or maybe I’m just trying to make myself not feel so guilty about my book-hoarding addiction.

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