I always dreamt of owning a library, but had to wait for that until I retired to a house that has a family room of beautiful floor-to-ceiling wooden shelves. Now I have many hundreds of books properly shelved, plus audiobooks in both CD and older cassette formats. Yes, I do possess an e-reader, but it is mostly for trips and e-borrowing from the library system.
A large media room in my basement has shelves and cabinets overflowing with Blu-ray discs, DVDs and videotapes. Yes, I have a Netflix account but there are still hundreds if not thousands of movies, documentaries and great old TV shows that are not available legally online. Judicious and regular inspection of charity and library sales, plus thrift shop and dollar store inventory, allows me to add to this collection at a cost of each purchase a lot less than a Starbucks latte.
Our fellow citizens offloading their books in a rush to reduce clutter and read online are providing a treasure trove for those of us who need to feel surrounded by the visual evidence of our love of great stories. And the browse experience is far superior to online.
I also have a large collection of music. Yes, I own digital music players and internet radios, but it is my ever-increasing shelf loads of vinyl and cassettes and CDs that feel like a real collection. Here too, browsing is way more fun, especially the LP covers. If I feel the need to have someone else decide, I resort to the feed from my antenna tower topped by a dedicated high-end FM rig on a rotor. There’s nothing yet to beat FM sound from a good receiver and setup.
It is a really good thing our kids have left home as collection creep is way too much fun to quit. I need never be lonely again with new content added each and every week and spare bedrooms to shelve it in! Every day all over the house my music and stories surround me – on air, on the internet, in text, on video and my stereo. And in case all this stuff at home gets too familiar, I keep regular at our library for books, movies and CDs. After all, I must keep properly up-to-date on what I might later find for my own collection!
By Ian Keith Anderson