Friday, July 29, 2011

Everyone has their addiction...

Some people smoke, some people drink. Me? I buy books.

I already own a lot of books. They fill up two six-foot shelves, plus three feet and a milk crate in my closet, plus a set of technology encyclopedias under my bed. And that's just the ones I owned before December 2010. say nothing of the magazines. I have thirteen years of Sky&Telescope, plus a couple of Sport Rocketry.

Up until last Christmas, I had my books under control. Yes, they'd started expanding into my closet, but that was organized, and it was space just waiting to be filled. But then I got about 18 linear inches of books for Christmas, and I had nowhere to put them. So, they became a pile on the floor.

I can never bear to give up my books. I have a copy-paper box full of children's books that have too many memories for me to give up; it's up in the attic with my high school papers and textbooks. So there was no way I was going to give up a lot of my books, especially since many of them are reference works that I pull up occasionally.

So they sat. In March, they were joined by some books from a former teacher of mine who was cleaning out his shelves, and in April by a William Gibson novel I bought in Maryland. More filtered in, gifts and purchases.

Then, the last straw. I bought four books at Borders on Sunday, then ten at Book Barn today. (I had a $25 gift certificate, so they cost me just ten dollars total.) No way those were goin gon the floor too; my mother would rightfully murder me.

So, while college shopping, I picked up a cheap bookshelf. It's thin fiberboard, but it works for what I need it for. Three shelves, a foot wide.

It's almost full from the last 8 months of books.

. . .

I think I'll get another one. At thirteen dollars it's worth it.

In any case, here's the books I bought today:
  • Arthur C. Clarke, Rendezvous with Rama
  • Arthur C. Clarke, The Songs of Distant Earth
  • Arthur C. Clarke, The Fountains of Paradise
  • Arthur C. Clarke, The Sentinel

Three novels and a collection of short stories by one of the greatest science fiction writers who ever lived.

  • Orson Scott Card, Ender's Shadow

The excellent parallel novel to Ender's Game, which they did not have in stock.

  • Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Still among the funniest novels ever written.

  • Martin Gardner, Wheels, Life, and Other Mathematical Amusements

Recreational mathematics.

  • Alexander Ziwet and Louis Allen Hopkins, Analytic Geometry

Not so recreational mathematics. To teach myself higher-level geometry. This is old - a 1937 edition of a 1913 title.

  • Galileo Galilei, Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems (1967 translated edition)

This is where modern science truly started. This was the title that brought heliocentrism to the masses, and the book that got Galileo tried. Given that I've parodied it (because I was being sarcastic on an English paper) it's time I got around to reading it.

  • Tracy Kidder, The Soul of a New Machine

The story of the creation of one of the first modern computers. Does for computers what Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance did for motorcycles - show the interaction between man (and, at Data General, a number of pioneering women as well) and machine as it becomes an art. It contributed to the idea of programming as an art and a philosophy as well as a science, and it's one of the finest engineering books around.


@eloh said...

Be sure and take a philosophy class or two. One of the things I used as a filler when I went to Cal State. One of the few classes I learned something I didn't already know.

I'm still getting caught up on my mouthing off....

But for now "So long, and thanks for all the fish".

The Existentially Curious said...

I buy books too - mostly sci-fi. Doug Coupland is sort of sci-fi I suppose...