Last week I received a rather large book on learning Python (which I am working on in my spare time from The Iron Yard). Along with a huge book on CCNA routing I bought some time ago (on the advice of one of my sysadmin friends), my books on computers now account for almost a fourth of a bookshelf in very scarce space. To fit them in, I had to take a hard look at my bookshelves and decide what to replace. Do I want to get rid of a few fantasy series? Not really. Comics? Nope. My general histories or philosophy or literature? Well, any day now I might actually sit down and read one of those.
But my bookshelf full of academic Chinese histories? Dog-eared, notated, and full of sticky-notes as it is, am I really ever going to need to reference a passage in Rebecca Nedostup’s Superstitious Regimes? Or Guy Alito’s biography of Liang Shu-ming? They may have formed the inspiration for my Master’s Thesis on Feng Youlan, but I don’t suppose that I will ever need to reference that again either. So into storage they go, and the computer books replace them on their fourth of the academic histories shelf, a physical manifestation of the vagaries of my life and the way life evolves unexpectedly.
Still, I can’t help but wonder: what will be on that shelf five years from now?