In looking at a target for how many books I’d like to read this year, I realize that I added 574 books to my list of book to read in 2021. At this rate, my anti-library is growing exponentially with respect to the books I’ve actually been able to read.
I'm a biomedical and electrical engineer with interests in information theory, complexity, evolution, genetics, signal processing, IndieWeb, theoretical mathematics, and big history. I'm also a talent manager-producer-publisher in the entertainment industry with expertise in representation, distribution, finance, production, content delivery, and new media. View all posts by Chris Aldrich
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In reply to a remark by Chris Aldrich
I think the point of an anti-library is not to read it all. In that sense it is not problematic that it grows faster than one can ever read. Adding something to a personal anti-library is not an expression of the intention to read it. It’s not a ‘list of books to read’. It is a preselection of things that might be interesting to read for future you. When future you is pondering a question, or exploring a topic, they can use that as filter to actually select a few books to read. Adding to the antilibrary is preselection, picking to read from it is the actual selection. For each of those 574 books you preselected Chris, do you write down why you think they’re interesting? Keeping the preselection arguments available to yourself cements its effect, aiding actual selection later. Since a year or two I jot down my motivation and associations with books as well as web articles I clip and save. It helps me a lot selecting things to read later on.
@chrisaldrich never enough time and always more to read! I find having a long TBR list puts pressure on choosing what to read next knowing I’ll never get to them all – but also makes it easier to quit books that aren’t working for me.
@tracydurnell Good point about making it easier to quit a book, when there’s a long list of books to potentially read. Quitting a book remains hard to me, both because of upbringing (books are big efforts and expensive, for you to just discard reading them) and because of sunk cost fallacy (I’ve come this far, not reading the rest devalues reading the first part). I should practice it more!
@ton Quitting a book could also just be a bad fit with me / my interests at this moment. If quitting is about the content, not its quality, then back into the anti-library is fine and not the ‘immoral act’ of writing it off.
@chrisaldrich I love the anti-library concept 🙂