Why I Haven’t Read That Book Yet, Part 2: I Do Not Physically Have the Book
excuses rational explanations go, this one’s pretty airtight, assuming one does not have an e-reader (I do not). No words, no reading. That means, of course, that it isn’t one of the myriad titles available on Project Gutenberg, Google Books, or similar online sources. But then, a lot of books were published too recently for that sort of internet hosting/availability, because copyright. In which case the actual, physical book must be obtained, and the following potential obstacles surmounted:
– I’m saving up for it – Sad, maybe, but often the case, especially with textbooks, beautifully bound volumes in used bookshops (all the sets of Austen, Dickens, Doyle, et cetera), and Absolute Sandman Volumes 3-5. You walk through a bookshop thinking “I’m sorry! I wish I could take you ALL home, but I can’t!” Which is responsible of you. Fret not.
– I have the money but forgot which title I was looking for at the bookstore – This kept me from SO MANY BOOKS. It prevented my beginning the Dresden Files for awhile. I think this is also the reason I haven’t read A Prayer for Owen Meany, as well as other books which, astonishingly, escape me at the moment. My friend Reneé once gave me a book journal so this wouldn’t happen, and I do use it, but it mostly means there’s one more place for the titles to be other than my head.
– I remembered the title BUT they didn’t have it – Prevented me from getting some Chesterton, Sayers, and Walker Percy along the way. I think I eventually gave up on big-box bookstores because their target market is just…someone else. Someone who is really, really interested in board games, financial planning, and self-improvement.
– I know it’s in my house somewhere… – Dang it, I swear I don’t need your copy of King Lear. Or Murder on the Orient Express. I really do have my own! Why can I find two copies of Murder Must Advertise and none of Whose Body?
– It Isn’t In My Library (not even via ILL or MelCAT!) – Since I live in Ann Arbor, this has happened when I’ve looked for particular religious books or conservative thinkers. Look for Martin Luther and you get Martin Luther King, Jr. Seek out John Henry Cardinal Newman and you get a single book of essays (which, on one hand, is 35 essays I ought to read; still, a scant offering). Gene Veith’s work is on MelCAT but not the A2 catalog. On the other hand, let it be noted that Ann Arbor has a surprisingly wide range of Wendell Berry! He must appeal to the home-grown locavores etc.
– It Was Due Back At The Library – I got close to getting somewhere with Golden Apples of the Sun, a complete volume of MacNeice’s poetry, Parade’s End, etc., but then someone else requested it and I had to cry surrender. I have not yet mustered the will to demand them back.
Have any of these fates befallen you? What titles are you currently seeking at the store/library/hidey holes in your house?