Sunday, November 13, 2005

2006: The Year of the Shark

I am considering a radical experiment. I plan to not buy any books in 2006. Of course, there will be a few exceptions. But, in general, with a few exceptions, I will not buy books in 2006.

I reserve the right to buy Philip Roth's new novel in the spring. And if Ian Rankin publishes a new book in 2006, I'll get it.

I am going to Ireland in January and since I will be on foreign soil, I will be allowed to buy a few books. Truthfully, the entire trip is devoted to buying books. Kennys, a famous bookstore in Galway, is closing its shop and shifting its operations to the internet. Since my dad and I have a long history with the store, we're going to see it one more time before it closes. I was there when I was ten years old but don't remember it. I discovered the store's website in the late 1990s and got books that way. My dad has been back several times without me. So, I have to buy books on this trip, my 2006 plans notwithstanding.

A private school in the Washington suburbs has a wonderful used booksale in the spring - I'll go to that.

When the Booker Prize longlist is announced in August, I think I should be able to buy a few from the list if I feel the need to.

I have enough stockpiled to last a few years. I hope to read the rest of Peter Robinson's novels. I have a bookcase entirely filled with books by George Simenon that I need to get through. Sometimes if I am sitting in front of a bookcase, I play this game where I plan which books I would read and in what order if they were the only books I could read. I might play that game for real now. Or the game where I am about to go into the FBI's witness protection program and can only take 25 of my books along with me.

We painted the apartment this weekend and I had to move hundreds and hundreds of books in order to do get to the walls. Thousands, probably. And I saw a lot of books that I had lost track of or forgotten how much I wanted to read. I think that the only way to do this is to stop buying new books.

I'm worried how this will go. I used to hear that sharks never stopped swimming because they needed water forced through them to breathe - and if they stopped moving, they would die. I think it turns out that this is only partly true. Scientists found sharks that sort of slept in currents of water and kept breathing that way. (I have this interesting looking book called The Shark Net by Robert Drewe - an Australian memoir about life in the west of the country when a killer is on the loose - or something like that. I think I'll read it next year.) (I also really want to read, but don't yet own, Charles Clover's The End of the Line: How Overfishing is Changing the World and What We Eat but I don't own a copy yet. I could probably get a copy in Ireland. And Neal Ascherson's The Black Sea, I can read that now, too. And Redmond O'Hanlon's last book, Trawler. I gave away my copy of that book on how cod saved/shaped/changed-whatever the world. I never finished it. I could finish that.) I fear that I am shark-like with my insatiable desire to acquire books. I should stop with this shark stuff because I have a long history of getting shark information wrong - especially when it comes to fresh water sharks.

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