Sunday, October 28, 2018

Known unknowns

Much as it pains me to admit this, as someone with a doctorate in English Literature and a job in publishing, I don't read much. And on the relatively rare occasion when I do finish a book, I feel a strange compulsion to reward myself by buying at least three more. Thus it is that our bookshelves (currently still metaphorical after nearly two years of living in our house) are groaning under the weight of unread volumes that glare at me accusingly.

But perhaps I and others like me shouldn't feel guilty, though. Perhaps, Kevin Dickinson suggests, we should just embrace Nassim Nicholas Taleb's concept of an "antilibrary", or the Japanese expression "tsundoku". After all, as Jessica Stillman has argued, surrounding yourself with untouched books - as Umberto Eco did - is a means of ensuring "intellectual humility", a way of continually reminding yourself of the vast expanse of human knowledge of which you are entirely ignorant.

(Thanks to Kat for the link.)

No comments: