Research Question: When I buy books in indie bookstores, I always say to myself “I want this book. I’ll buy this now, take it home and then read it at some future point.” This research investigates the question of what I do when I have an opportunity to read these books. Do I read them? If so, how many?
Subject: I am semi-confined to my apartment because of a broken ankle. Since I am not working, I have more time available for reading.
Research Protocol: On a separate shelf, I culled all books that fell into the “indie bookstore future read purchase” Most but not all of the books were purchased in the past 5 years from indie bookstores. The books were arranged in no specific order.I chose three books: The Epigenetics Revolution, House of God and Walden. I placed these books on a table next to my couch.
Results: In five weeks, I have read most of The Epigenetics Revolution, the last chapter of Walden, Civil Disobedience and part of the first chapter of House of God. All of this reading occurred in the first week of the experiment. Instead I have read at approximately seven other books including books I have already read.
Conclusion: I am unlikely to read to books that I purchase in indie bookstores and don’t read immediately.
The immediate implication is that I should exercise more restraint in book buying zones. This implication sucks so I reject it. Another implication is that I am buying the books to placate the bookstore owner because of all the book titles I have memorized and will try to get from the library. Better but am I buying out of duty? Duty is also sucky. The implication that I prefer is book lust; the book seduces me into taking it off the shelf.