I’m one of the few people you’ll meet who’ve written more books than they’ve read. (Garth Marenghi)
I’ll be the first to admit that this project is a bit unremarkable. It’s not hard, on this Internet of ours, to find superreaders who consume books almost as fast as they acquire them, helpful souls who rate or review everything they read, and sites – like my sister’s favorite, Goodreads – that let such people track their bookdoings within a dedicated, structured system. (I should add that I’ll probably end up making a Goodreads account. She’s sold it to me pretty well.) (UPDATE: Totally did.)
I’m not a dedicated bibliophile. I don’t read, really, and I don’t collect books as some do: my library is very much on the small side, and to the extent that I am acquisitive, I regard it as a vice. I’m also leery of publicly rating, reviewing, and reccing. Or rather – as with tagging – I appreciate others’ efforts but I don’t like doing it myself. Numerical ratings are slippery; I always feel (again, as with tagging) like my ratings should adhere to some standard of objectivity, or at least to some consistent scale, but in practice they never do. And this makes any ratings history into an embarrassing record of prejudices and passing enthusiasms. Reviewing is even worse, because along with the unconsidered judgements it gives digital everfindability to my godawful pretentious prose.
The point of the Omega Library, if there is one, is that it’s a reading project by a nonreader, a book project by someone who is not bookish (except in the shallowest sense). My library is what it is because of bad stabs at status-seeking, failed aspirations, sensationalism, sentiment, inertia – everything except the love of books. I’ve tried to build a self by building a library, working from the outside in. The only way to redeem that is to run with it – to actually try to internalize these books of mine. It’s personal to the point of being slightly gross.
And that’s the reason for the blog format and the general gratuitous me-ness of this whole thing. Tracking, rating, and reviewing make it entirely about the books themselves. And it isn’t – not entirely.