A man … A man ain’t got no hasn’t got any can’t really isn’t any way out. … A man … A man … A man … Now the way things are the way they go no matter what no. … Don’t fool yourself. Like trying to pass cars on the top of hills. On that road in Cuba. On any road. Anywhere. Just like that. I mean how things are. The way that they been going. For a while yes sure all right. Maybe with luck. A man. … A man. One man alone ain’t got. No man alone now. No matter how a man alone ain’t got no bloody chance.
It had taken him a long time to get it out and it had taken him all of his life to learn it.
It always seemed obvious to me, from adolescence, that it was necessary to have a library. If you read The Grapes of Wrath, you needed also to own Tortilla Flats. As with The Old Man and the Sea and To Have and Have Not. You expected not only to be able to read The Turn of the Screw when you wanted to, but also to able to read it again.
Not only that, but you were the person who owned copies of those books. To some extent, it defined who you were.
All that has changed.
The canon is no longer of any consequence. And even further: not only is the ownership of books no longer of any consequence, but neither are printed books themselves of any value of any kind.
Many, most, of the books I have are paperbacks. They are dirty and deteriorating. They have no monetary or any other kind of value as artefacts.
The cultural value they allegedly contain has come in question, and indeed found wanting, post modernism.
Having written all that, I find that I have convinced myself that I can throw into recycling or into landfill – it doesn’t matter much, as the one may become the other – almost of my capital L Literature library.
I shall of course ask my heirs and assignees (whatever that means) – as I happen to be still alive – how they feel about it, but I think they will agree with the conclusion I’ve come to.
I shall have many bookcases to give away.