Doug Bruns

My Books

In Books, Philosophy, Reading on June 1, 2010 at 4:38 pm

I moved to Maine from Maryland last year and my library is following me slowly, volume by volume, with every trip back and forth. I didn’t have to move all at once–tying to sell my Maryland house (wish me luck)– so I am taking pains to cull through my library. My plan has been to bring along with me only those books I wish to keep. Charles Sanders Peirce, the 19th Century American Philosopher, had two houses, one to live in, and one to store his books. That is not an option.

My library consists largely of books I’ve read. But there is a surprising number of books I purchased and shelved for a future reading. This reviewing and moving of my library has afforded me this knowledge: There is nothing so profound as an unread library. I don’t think many people understand that. Susan Sontag said that literature is the “creator of inwardness.” Imagine the potential for inward creation inherent in the unread library. It is, as I said, profound, and speaks to the suggestion that we might think better of ourselves than we’ve yet to realize.


  1. “There is nothing so profound as an unread library.”


  2. I empathize you culling your library and moving it. My collection of books is steadily increasing (thanks mostly to library book sales) and I find it extremely hard to eliminate anything for fear I might need it at some later point.

    And I have many books that I have yet to read but I know I will get to them at some point. And if not, well then, someday someone else will hopefully love them as much as I do.

    Now to only get my own personal library. Stacks on floors and very full shelves don’t count as a library to me.

    • But there is something about a random stack of books that is inviting. It’s not a library, I agree, but it’s something also appealing (I almost said sexy). Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Ah, very true, though getting to that very bottom book does tend to get a little frustrating, but it is a more open feeling than neat lines on a shelf… (appealing or any other word to that affect works) And anytime.

I welcome your comments. Thanks for reading.

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