Sunday, December 10, 2017

Post-Literacy: A Realisation Of Modern Times, by Wiggia

I am in the process of having a declutter as we just might be moving, a previous piece* deals with all the horrors of that separately.

My biggest task was/is a large collection of books, I love books and am loath to part with them yet the truth is apart from a few most have served their purpose and one section especially falls into this category.

Books on gardening, there are coffee table books, history of books, plant guides, single genus specialist books, landscaping books, water garden books, soil management books, design manuals, specialist design books, manuals on costings, material usage books, plant and tree sourcing books  and on and on.

Most of these come from my time designing and creating gardens, though some are purely for pleasure and some have a sentimental value, being tomes from people I have known and revered.

The fact remains that apart from endless trade catalogs and fact sheets that have been disposed of the books remain or the bulk of them do, well over a hundred remain on my shelves with no obvious purpose left for them.

The knowledge gleaned from the reams of writings has been used and what I need now in life is stored in the old gray cells; the books apart from a select few are redundant.

So what to do, the specialist and “rare” books I decided I would put on eBay, that is until I saw that there are countless same volumes already on there that simply don’t sell whatever the price, so that wasjunked as an avenue of disposal.

What about charity shops? On principle I will not give to the enormous charities that pay executives huge salaries whilst the staff work for nothing, so that leaves the small ones and they when approached said they have too many books and no thank you.

I then thought that local gardening clubs/associations was a good route to explore; from those that bothered to answer the result was negative, one explained that they have a members' library yet only two books had been borrowed in twelve months, so again they politely declined my offer.

The sad truth is people simply do not read anymore, or certainly not as in years past, all information can be obtained on the internet. There is no need for hefty tomes to invade your ever-smaller living space: you have a problem then seconds later you have the answer in front of you - all the sections I mention above can be extracted from the web.

Is it the end of books apart from those posh coffee table adornments? To a large degree I have to agree and say yes.

The same can be said for my map collection. I had endless maps of various parts of the country, Europe and the world, most out of date and virtually all never to be used again. The sat nav and mobile phone apps have seen the end of maps apart from the basic back up variety so with no one wanting them either, into the recycle bin they went.

I have always believed books have a special place in one's life: we learn from them, we are entertained by them and many are reminders of times gone by, by association or time placement, so what to do? I am adverse to dumping them so will in the end take them with me, no doubt to claim a corner of my study until I pop off and someone else has the sad duty to put them in the skip along with much else that will be available at that juncture. The unloved, unwanted book, not words I thought I would ever say. 

The printed word has been with us an awfully long time, it has been the mainstay of our education system, yet along with the newspaper appears to be in terminal decline. 


Sackerson said...

I must be a contrarian, for I'm buying more than ever before - the prices are so low.

When the iCloud bursts, or paywalls, censorship and search engine manipulation hide the best stuff from us, books will still be there - no batteries, no hacking, no crashing.

An old book is a physical connection to the past, so important, as Winston Smith realises in "1984". And there is the pleasure of watching your bookmark sink through the pages.

Besides, the effects on modern media on our powers of concentration are already a subject of worry.

wiggiatlarge said...

Sackerson , your comment about the low prices indicates that books are in decline, I myself was looking for a particular book on wine and it was available for £1 free postage, £35 new, the copy I received was as new and first published 18 months ago !
By thw way does anyone want a United States Army Air Forces W W 11 jungle desert arctic ocean survival manual, complete with Eskimo words and phrases, every home should have one !

Sackerson said...

@Wiggia - like buying gold 20 years ago.

Paddington said...

It pains me to get rid of books.

Wildgoose said...

I am drowning in books as well - several thousand on umpteen bookcases, or just piled up. One of the built-in bookcases (that I paid a carpenter to build in our front room) is just filled with Folio editions. Acid-free paper, proper (not glue) bindings, careful choice of typefaces...I just love books.

I also have a Kindle, which is great for fiction, but not so great for anything requiring ease of quick reference, quality diagrams and similar technical matters - and that is why there will always be a place for books. I love my Kindle - but it doesn't have the tactile quality of a book, the smell of paper, the ability to quickly riffle and find what you are looking for based on nothing more than impressions and vague memories.

Having said that, I really need to cut back....