I've been thinking of swearing off checking out books from the library, because it's interfering too much with my reading.
You see, the library is a very dangerous place. It is packed to the gills with books, and while it often doesn't have the particular book that I'm looking for, it does often have a number of interesting looking books. So I'll go in there looking for some book that I really want to ready, find that they don't have it, and think, "Well, if I really want to read that, I'll have to get it from Amazon." Then as I wander the stacks a bit (MrsDarwin and I take turns going upstairs to the adult section while the other watches the small fry.) I'll find one or two books that do look interesting and check them out. The barrier to entry with library books is simply so low. You don't have to pay for them, you don't have to wait for them, and you can check out up to 15 at a time, so you don't even have to decide which one to get, you can get all the ones that look interesting.
Of course, at this point, I'll set aside the books I'm already reading that I own, and read the library books first. Because, you know, the library books have to go back in three weeks. And then, after finishing those library books, I'll find myself wanting to look up a couple other books, which are referred to by the first ones. And these lead to more books. And more. And the next thing you know, the book which you bought because you really were quite urgent to read it has been sitting around unfinished for three or four months.
In the end, it's just not fair to the books you own to give the library books a chance. Even as a rather excessive book buyer, my books are vastly outnumbered by the library books. And, of course, the library books are hardened veterans, having already conquered dozens of readers.
So I know that I need to lay off the library books. I could read for years just working through books that we own that I haven't read yet and want to read. And yet it's hard to stop. One always imagines that one is strong enough to check out just one or two library books. It's just a book, after all. I don't have to go check out more. I don't have to set my current books aside. I can stop any time.
Fortnightly Book, December 4
1 hour ago