Thursday, July 06, 2006

Your are how you read

My dad starts, "There is a store over on Main that makes brass plates for bookshelves. So the question is, what categories do you use to categorize your library."

"Easy," I replied "Literature, Art & Graphic Arts, Politics & History, Social Theory, Religion, Science* & Math, Philosophy and Sifrei Kodesh."

And like that, I realized how simply (re: crudely) I saw the world. Drama is just literature; anthropology, social theory etc. Definitely a worth while exercise.

* by science I "really" mean physics, where biology is just tacked on, the way platypi are kind of like mammals.

4 comments:

Sam said...

Yesterday I got a sixth bookshelf for my apartment. My books are not really sorted, except I try to keep most authors together, non-fiction is (mostly) on one side of the room, and taller books are in taller shelves. On the other hand, in my office, I used to have my math books sorted by author and title, but eventually I found all the yellow jarring. That, and my copy of "Infinite Loop Spaces" was beginning to bend under the weight of all its neighbors to the right. Now I have it sorted by publisher and the Springer books are not at eye level. I guess I try to arrange my books so that the most pretentious ones are the most prominent. So what does that say about me?

Josh said...

How does religion differ from philosophy (with small aspects of social theory and literature)? Could not Literature and the Arts be combined into one category? I suppose, though, that there's some advantage to marking off some of the larger subdivisions within fields of knowledge, as long as one doesn't end up with too many categories.

Zev said...

Yes, Josh, they could. The point is, in my mind Art and Literature are distinct. Presumably in your mind they are far more similar.

I would ordinarily scoff at putting a book of de Kooning's work in the same section as Anna Karenina, but then one could just as easily condemn me for putting Dosteivsky with Frost.

Sam said...

Zev, aren't you being a little harsh? I don't think the way we organize our books necessarily indicates our internal epistemology (am I using this word correctly?). Even in a big library or a bookstore there are other considerations, such as the utility of the LCC and the English alphabet: you might think that Turgenev has more to do with Dostoevsky than Trollope, for example, but his name begins with the letter T. The organization of a personal library, I think, indicates whether we enjoy collecting and sorting and how we would like to be seen by our guests.

How do you organize your vinyl?