I love books, and I love to read. Bite me.
Keeping sorted, hand-written lists of my books, I forever faced the problems of additions, only partially solved by the same methods used when I was programming disk access on ICL 1900 Series mainframes ten years later. (Yet to come would be the further problems outlined by Anne Fadiman in her wonderful essay Marrying Libraries from Ex Libris.)
I eventually switched my listing "technology" to a card index, and introduced a laborious four-colour code. (Yet to come would be the problems outlined by Nicholson Baker in his 4 April 1994 essay Discards in the New Yorker, reprinted in The Size of Thoughts.) Still, the backs of these cards have since done sterling service as domestic shopping lists and cassette tape box inlays over the last three decades.
Eventually I came into contact with computers, not to mention line printers, dot-matrix printers, inkjets, bubblejets, and laser printers, and saw possibilities therein...
My first, all uppercase, computerised booklist appeared on greenline paper in my living room in 1977, rather to the annoyance of my squash partner (the computer's owner) who was paying me for something completely different, and Christa, who found the 150 cps late night impact noise tiresome. My 2016 booklists are generated and displayed in total silence. Much more quickly!
Books do furnish a room
Not least because they conceal a lifetime of decorative neglect of the walls in Technology Towers. One of Lois McMaster Bujold's delightful essays mentions she'd been told the worst real-life crimes (in the sense of the heavy-duty, blood on the walls, cleanup required afterwards — as in the excellent film "Sunshine Cleaning") never occur in houses filled with books. But then I simply can't imagine1 a house not filled with books.
Evidence of my bibliophilic streak
- A German edition of Catch-22 read by my mother-in-law before my wife
- The first US edition of the Guinness Book of Superlatives from a second hand bookshop in Penn
- A bound volume of Punch from 1860 — a gift from a paternal aunt, long-deceased
- Harlan Ellison's second volume of TV criticism (The Other Glass Teat), largely suppressed by one Spiro T Agnew
- The hilarious Brewer's Rogues, Villains and Eccentrics — R.I.P. William Donaldson (aka Henry Root)
- Not to mention various sublime ramblings of Charles Babbage — on a par with Richard Feynman
- Or multiple copies of varied editions of Kai Lung stories by Ernest Bramah