Why I Buy Books

It’s not the most frugal habit and most people ask, “why not just borrow from the library?” I can understand why. Books add up pretty quickly but they’re still the one thing I insist on buying and never borrowing. Why? Well I write in them and only jerks deface library property. At the end of every book, I always jot down my impressions and the age I was when I finished it. It gets interesting when you can pick something off of your shelf and go, “huh, that’s how I thought when I was sixteen.” And what’s important is not only what you thought, but how you thought. How you feel about a book reflects your mentality at that time, so your impressions end up revealing a lot about what you were like ideologically. Intelligence more or less stays the same, but the shapes and forms your thoughts take constantly evolve as you mature.

In that way, reading back on personal commentary is a fascinating documentation of your growth. It’s different from journaling, even though that also documents personal growth. Journal entries tend to be personal and turned inward. They’re exercises in introspection. However, books (the good ones anyway) leave you with abstractions about the world around you. Writing molds the abstract into the tangible. Over time, abstact ideas just float away to join the infinite realm of lost thoughts, leaving only a fraction of their original potency. It’s unfortunate when you forget how something made you think or feel.

Commentary on Anna Karenina. These things could get long.

First impressions of Anna Karenina at 17. These things could get long.