I’ll start with something practical and move onto the theory:
Having studied English literature and working at a book store, I have amassed a fair number of books in the recent decade. Clearly, I have a (commodity) fetish – I accept this and the negative implications. I love books and how they’re bound, I love having them on my shelves and knowing I have access to the knowledge and joys they contain. I accept that, further to fetishism, this entertains the truly late-capitalist desire to have everything immediately available. Such desires are, in my opinion, a direct result of the our current cultural understanding of time (and the impatience we often show about ‘taking it’). Anyway, what to do about it? Well, one of the things I said I would do was, when I finally got around to compiling everything, creating a lending library for the locals of whatever (small town) I lived in. I’d catalogue my books and then note who’s borrowed what.
So, with roughly half my books already catalogued (those in England and unfortunately not up for lending), I intend to do the rest and to start the (informal) lending library from today forth.
The library info/rules are:
- I’ll lend for a few months at a time, give or take a bit.
- We can make cards, if you want
- If you want them sent by post, give me address and cover postage.
- When the catalogue is finished I will try put it online, but for now, you have to come to my house or ask me.
- If I’m reading something, you might have to wait (similarly if I’m using it for a project etc)
- I have a large amount of poetry, philosophy (though there are large gaps I intend to fill) and novels.
- Certain (‘rare’ or valuable) books will be consultation ‘sur place’ only.
AN EXTENSION TO THE PROJECT:
I am happy to integrate the books from other readers into one large (and still informal) lending system, in which we move books between friends/colleagues/acquaintances rather than having to buy them fresh everytime. This would require that others catalogue their books and send me the list. There are surely a number of you (Joe, John) that have great quantaties of books I don’t have access to – namely in the fields of science and mathematics.
I am fully aware that this could fail (or that I’m doing it 20/30 years too early), but with this blog as a central point perhaps we could create it as a page – ‘The Night Shift
Library’, or something equally original.
This is part of a general project to invest less in my belongings as fetishistic items. Belongings are not manifestations of my self in an integral way, but are like fleeting moods that may come and go – always held not in the vice-like grip of a maniacal ego but by a general gravity.
Bookseller and librarian,