My overstuffed (virtual) bookshelf — 4

Remember me at the beginning of February?

Why my toilet reading lends support to Jonathan Franzen….

By Neil on February 1, 2012

Franzen likes the actual physical book. So do I. Consider my habit of reading reference books in the loo.

“The technology I like is the American paperback edition of “Freedom.” I can spill water on it and it would still work! So it’s pretty good technology. And what’s more, it will work great 10 years from now…

“I think, for serious readers, a sense of permanence has always been part of the experience. Everything else in your life is fluid, but here is this text that doesn’t change…

“”The Great Gatsby” was last updated in 1924. You don’t need it to be refreshed, do you?”

OK, I still prefer the traditional paper and glue model in the loo, and also I prefer browsing reference books like dictionaries and encyclopedias in paper.


On the other hand, my Kobo doesn’t do anything much beyond collecting and displaying books: it is just an eReader after all. Oh, except that carrying around 1.565 books is a bit difficult, while with Kobo I can do that in a gizmo that come to think about it looks a bit like an old-fashioned slate!


Yes, it’s 1,565 now!

Everything from the Code of Hammurabi to things published maybe five minutes ago.  Now that is pretty remarkable.

The obligation resting upon a buyer of real estate

§ 40. A votary, merchant, or resident alien may sell his field, garden, or house, and the buyer shall discharge the public service connected with the field, garden, or house that he has bought.

Landlord cannot restrain a satisfactory tenant from subletting

§ 47. If a tenant farmer, because he did not start farming in the early part of the year, has sublet the field, the owner of the field shall not object; his field has been cultivated; at harvest-time he shall take rent, according to his agreement.

And Gatsby is there too – for free!


And you don’t have to “refresh” it either. Even Jonathan Franzen will find this inside:

Chapter 1

In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.

“Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”

He didn’t say any more, but we’ve always been unusually communicative in a reserved way, and I understood that he meant a great deal more than that. In consequence, I’m inclined to reserve all judgments, a habit that has opened up many curious natures to me and also made me the victim of not a few veteran bores. The abnormal mind is quick to detect and attach itself to this quality when it appears in a normal person, and so it came about that in college I was unjustly accused of being a politician, because I was privy to the secret griefs of wild, unknown men. Most of the confidences were unsought — frequently I have feigned sleep, preoccupation, or a hostile levity when I realized by some unmistakable sign that an intimate revelation was quivering on the horizon; for the intimate revelations of young men, or at least the terms in which they express them, are usually plagiaristic and marred by obvious suppressions…

And so on through this truly marvellous 20th century classic.

And just published? Well, in the freebie department you might try:


… published last Thursday.

And some are just delightful:


The Book of DRAGONS

E. Nesbit

With illustrations by H. R. Millar

Decorations by H. Granville Fell


Linked to source.