Antilibrary

So many books to read, so little time.

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“The writer Umberto Eco belongs to that small class of scholars who are encyclopedic, insightful, and nondull. He is the owner of a large personal library (containing thirty thousand books), and separates vistors into two categories: those who react with ‘Wow! Signore professore dottore Eco, what a library you have! How many of these books have you read?’ and others – a very small minority- who get the point that a private library is not an ego boosting appendage but a research tool. Read books are far less valuable than unread ones. The library should contain as much of what you do not know as your financial means, mortgage rates, and the currently tight real estate market allow you to put there. You will accumulate more knowledge and more books as you grow older, and the growing number of unread books on the shelves will look at you menacingly. Indeed, the more you know, the larger the rows of unread books. Let us call the collection of unread books an antilibrary.”

– Nassim Nicholas Taleb, The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable.

The Anti-Library is a group weblog devoted to the shrinking of our collective stack of unread books. Reading, by large, is a solitary activity. The stereotype of the reader, after all, is of a pipe-smoking man in a chair, tome in hand. But reading as a public activity–not just after the fact book-club discussions but active blogging of books in progress–can help us reach new insights and suggest new directions for discussion and study.

The Anti-Library’s creator and editor-in-chief is Adam Elkus. But anyone is welcome (and encouraged) to post here as long as they have a love of reading and discussion. Email him at adam.elkus AT gmail DOT com for information on how to contribute.

Written by Adam Elkus

October 14, 2008 at 3:44 am

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