Packing up, books vs Kindle, and the joy of dead trees

The movers are here today, shipping our belongings to Manila.

We spent the week packing up and sorting through dusty memories. It’s really hard to narrow your life down to only 12 cubic meters; especially considering I arrived in Indonesia 7 years ago with only two suitcases. What goes? What stays? What gets donated to charity? What gets trashed?

I don’t want to become a pack rat – I enjoy simplicity and minimalism to a degree. However, I do have a slight problem with books; a problem meaning I buy far too many, and read far too few. Case in point? I spent no less than 9 hours categorizing and cataloging my books into Delicious Library 2 – software for Mac that uses the built in iSight to scan the barcode on the back of books (very cool). You can then sync it with your iPhone so you can view your library on the go.

Why would I ever need this? What, you’ve never bought the same movie or book twice? Never loaned out books and forgot to whom? Tedious and perhaps a bit OCD, but pretty sweet once it’s complete. After sorting many books to remain in Jakarta, and not including Novita’s Indonesian books, the grand total was 285 books.

Yes, 285. Maybe not a lot compared to some (including my parents), but considering I brought only a beat-up copy of Trainspotting and Sho-gun to Jakarta, it sure seems excessive. To put it in perpsective, if, say, I live another 60 years (hopefully more), I’d have enough books to read almost 5 per year – without ever buying another book. Ouch.

Why not just use Amazon’s Kindle?

I guess despite being a full on tech guy, books are one area in which I like the tangible item. I spend much of the day online reading and working with screens; books are a welcome respite from pixels. I realize digital formats are more sensible, devices have made great strides in readability, and probably are much more ‘green’; perhaps I’ll look back on this post in a decade and laugh at my naivety.

For now, I’ll stick with dead trees and expensive shipping.


Ironically, Novita just shipped the novel I’m reading. True to my post, I went searching for another book to read in the books that weren’t sent in the shipment – whaddya know – on the top of the pile was another copy of that very same novel.

See, there’s a perk to being a book monger!