selling my library

Posted on June 18, 2016 in Uncategorized

The title of this post, I’m sure you know, is reference to Walter Benjamin’s essay ‘Unpacking My Library’. In my case this post lacks sthe luminosity of benjamin’s reflections but perhaps it will retain the melanchoic reflectivity.  At any rate, it reminds me of a simililar episode where I had to sell off my 2500 item record collection. This narrative reminds me of Kafka’s hunger artist. At the same time I’m parsing them out slowly as an Amazon reseller so I don’t have to just basically give them away. Picking up each volume usually has a vibe or aura about it, locating it in some emotional gridwork, even if the book has not been read. At one time I tried not to buy another book until I had read the ones I had bought, but that doesn’t work for obvious reasons (one being the exigencies of publishing). At some point following the skein of connections became all consuming, more even that the point of reading the book…after all how many books can one read in a lifetime, even if that is all that one does, and then one has other problems. But practically speaking there is a problem with eyesight and reading a printed book has become increasingly difficult. notwithstanding the pleasure of the heft and feel of a book. But now the problem, if one wanted to label it such and sometimes I do, is that the level of access to pdf books has becomeway beyond any sensibility of colection. I might even say that ‘collecting’ ebooks doesn’t make much sense since all the stories about physical volumes which collectors like to extol, like provinance, age, condition, printing history, are not applicable anymore. So perhaps other facts can come into play in terms of ‘collection’. But as Benjamin himself noted in another essay, collectability can’t can’t be determined by physical uniqueness. Perhaps aura can be disolved and reformed around immaterial ‘sorting’ or assemmblage…but it seems to me that it then becomes a pale substitute indeed if the pleasures of physical collections are what is being sought.