I've been trying to reduce my book-buying of late, in part because we're running out of wall space for more book shelves, and in part because of the tree issue. I'm fine with recycling books, but buying new ones reminds me of how many monoculture forests are being grown to provide pulp. Then I heard that downloading books onto an electronic device (Kindle, Nook, iPad) would actually lessen one's footprint if one were the sort who buys more than a hundred books per year.
I've been know to buy twice that (usually in those years that include at least one trip out to Booked Up in Archer City, where Larry McMurtry houses thousands of antiquarian books in four warehouses around the town square), so having already succumbed to the lure of the iPad I now have a better use for it even than keeping track of balls and strikes during a Rangers game, or keeping an eye on the weather. There are now fifty five books on my iBooks shelf, most of them downloaded for free thanks to Apple's partnership with the Gutenberg Project. Lots of these are duplicates of titles the Beloved Spouse and I already own (in case we're out camping and a sudden urge to read Nietzsche's Birth of Tragedy in German comes upon him, or I feel the immediate need to consult a nineteenth-century cookery book). The Free Books app from the iTunes store brought me portable editions (as if the paperbacks weren't already portable) of Morris's News From Nowhere and Wells's In the Days of the Comet, and a dozen others.
Fittingly, I think, my first actual purchase was Bill McKibben's newest book, Eaarth; the second was Juliet Schor's Plenitude: The New Economics of True Wealth. In concert with an actual physical copy of Sharon Astyk's Depletion and Abundance: Life on the New Home Front, I'm now equipped with enough blog fodder to last for the next couple of months. Be forewarned.
Since I need to get back to grading, I have to quit for now, but the Skywatch Friday entry for this week appears above. It was inspired by Schor's idea that a different concept of wealth would include time to do the things one loves. I can't help but think of this photo, of Red Rock Canyon along highway 395 in California, taken more than five years ago, as a potent and poignant reminder that I haven't been home since it was shot. I would be quite happy to exchange the almost other-worldly dry heat of the California desert and its searingly blue sky for the frequently oppressive, moisture-saturated heat of north Texas. But that, too, will have to wait for later.