I have seen people selling their textbooks online. With many courses going to the e-text model, it has meant a lot of people are looking for the physical textbook. When I see these I, albeit briefly, consider whether I should move some of my textbooks from my shelf to someone else’s. But I’m a book hoarder. While many of my textbooks will likely never be looked at again, there is the possibility that there will be a piece of information in there that, one day, I will want. I have referenced back to textbooks I got while attending a bricks and mortar university in 2005. It may not happen often, but it does happen. I am also one of those strange birds who loves the look of books on a shelf. I can barely walk by a bookstore without going in. And if I go in, I am coming out with at least one book.
There is something about a book that is a wonderful thing. Perhaps this is part of why I hated the e-text movement so much. I like a book I can flip through, feel the weight, and reference again. I like to be able to look at my shelves and discover something new in them. Many texts I got with courses I found interesting, but I only read the required material. There were many chapters which sounded interesting that I simply did not have time to read. I even have duplicates (or triplicates) of some books and have not yet found the heart to give them away.
I did take a few books and rehomed them at the cabin. And I took several and boxed them up to send to a friend. These books, though, were from my children’s lit course and I did not predict myself reading them again (though I’ve kept several from that course).
There is something about sitting in a room surrounded by books that I find inspiring. I dream of filling my small office space with more books and creating a wall-to-wall(-to-wall) library. So it is not surprising that I have a difficult time sending a book along, even if my shelf space has run out. Often in my courses I was happy to be done with the books by the end, especially the dry courses. However, even those I have picked up again and found something interesting in them, something that was (or was not) a part of the assigned readings. I have looked to my textbooks for comfort, knowing that one day I may need to know something, and even if that day isn’t today, I will be able to find it: professional ethics, for example. While I commend those that are able to gather what they need from a book in one go and send it on to someone else, I cannot bear to separate from a majority of the books in my collection. They are a wealth of information: whether on particular subjects or possibly just as inspiring reading material.
One of my favourite parts of ordering courses was to see what books I was adding to my shelves. What books are now in my possession that, without AU, would not be. These books have inspired new purchases, and in different genres. I have developed a variety of reading material and reference material and I will continue to add to it. I will just have to keep adding bookshelves, when that space runs out, then let the stacking begin.
Deanna Roney is an AU student who loves adventure in life and literature