In a related question to last week’s–
I was reading the other day a quote from JFK Jr who said on the death of his mother, that she died surrounded by family, friends, and her books. Apparently, Jackie’s books were very much a part of HER, her personality, her sense of self.
Up until recently, people could browse your bookshelves and learn a lot about you–what your interests are, your range of topics, favorite authors, how much you read (or at least buy books).
More and more, though, this is changing. People aren’t buying books so much as borrowing them from the library. Or reading them on their e-readers or computers. There’s nothing PHYSICAL on the shelves to tell strangers in your home, for better or worse, who you ARE.
Do you think this is a good thing? Bad? Discuss!
It is true that the books you read reflect your personality. Not only that, the books you read also shape your personality. So, yes, people can find a lot about you when looking through your bookshelves.
If people borrow books from the libraries or read e-formats then other people cannot see what you are reading. But I would not agree that there is nothing physical in your home to tell people about you, judging by myself and the readers I know.
In my case, I borrow most of the books I read. It happened several times I first read the book from the library and I liked it so much or it had such an impact on me that I later bought it because I wanted to have it at home to reread it or parts of it or just to sit there and I can look at it and remember all the wonderful things I got from it. I like the feeling that the stories, the characters I like in a way live with me and continue inspiring me. Therefore, I think borrowing and e-readers will not prevent readers to have at least some of the most important books to them in their homes in a physical form. And what tells more about our personality than our favourite books?
How much you want to reveal about you is quite another issue and it depends on an individual. I am a private person, so I do not want everybody, least of all strangers, knowing a lot of things about me. I can show my books to my friends and we talk about them. Also, the books can be misleading. Judging only by the covers and titles may prompt people to get a wrong idea about your personality.
Overall, I think books will always be there to testify about who we are. And even if they are not it is not a necessarily bad idea if people cannot see them and make opinion about us based upon the books we read.