Growing Our (Anti) Library

From Nicholas Taleb’s Black Swan, about Umberto Eco’s home library:

Read books are far less valuable than unread ones. The library should contain as much of what you do not know as your financial means, mortgage rates, and the currently tight read-estate market allows you to put there. You will accumulate more knowledge and more books as you grow older, and the growing number of unread books on the shelves will look at you menacingly. Indeed, the more you know, the larger the rows of unread books. Let us call this collection of unread books an antilibrary.*

My friend Jack, who blogs at Knowledge Volt, sent me the link, from Matthew Cornell, in response to my guilt over book-buying binges. In keeping with the antilibrary, my trips last week to Half Price Books and Barnes and Noble in St. Louis Park:

May 2009 new books

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (Oxford World Classics mini HC edition)

Terminator 2

Jane Austen: A Life by Claire Tomalin
(spiffy vintage-look Penguin cover)

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Laura by Vera Caspary

China Mountain Zhang (gave our copy away years ago)

Curly Girl
by Lorraine Massey (my own copy, since the one I have is from the library)

For the kids:

kids book stack may 2009

Starting School by Janet and Allan Ahlberg

Three Scooby Doo easy readers

The Firefighters Busy Day
by Richard Scarry

Noisy Nora by Rosemary Wells

Sammy the Seal
by Syd Hoff

It’s My Birthday
by Helen Oxenbury

Anatole and the Cat
by Eve Titus

I put the books on top of our built-in buffet, near the ceiling. My 5yo son Drake was so eager to get his hands on them that I barely got that photo taken before he started climbing, and dismantled the display:

Drake Climing, I Drake Climbing, II

Here’s 3yo Guppy, who can’t yet read, asleep on Sammy the Seal. Perhaps any book they can’t yet read themselves is part of the boys’ antilibrary.

Guppy with

2 Responses to “Growing Our (Anti) Library”

  1. jennifer Says:

    what a SUPERB haul…and good for you!! I heartily approve of antilibraries.

  2. Steph Says:

    How many copies of Jane Eyre does that make now? ;) I received P&P&Z as a gift a few weeks back, but I’m not sure when I’ll get to it. I suppose I am due for a re-read of Pride & Prejucide soon… perhaps I do need to throw in some zombies?