Boston Public Library

Today I decided to clear out my books.  After this week I’ll only have the books that I’m reading and I’ve made a goal to not buy any new books until I’ve read the ones I have and given them away afterward (2-3 books).  I made an assumption that the Boston Public Library would take donations so I headed there to get a Library card and check out the situation.  I was able to donate everything and they seemed pretty stoked about it.

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I've got some guitar lesson books from Greg Arney (I've got the pdf copies as well so I don't need the physical copy, cool dude, check him out at http://bostonguitarlessons.net/), a statistics book (woof), a book about patagonia (excellent), some rando robots book about DARPA (a gift that I haven't and will probably not read), a book about ninjas (good for the bathroom), and shirlock holmes (always epic).

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With these books I'm making use of my "safety" caveat and keeping them without counting them toward my 100 items. The top book is the Mountaineering Bible lots of good safety information. Below it is a sports nutrition book, lots of good stuff in there about being safe and healthy while exercising. Next there are 5 years worth of "Accidents in North American Mountaineering". One book is published each year which includes all of the rescues that have happened on mountains in North America. Hopefully I can learn from some of their mistakes. Then there's a Northeast Climbing book, another good thing to have in the safety book arsenal.

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These books either belong to friends of mine or I'm lending them out permanently to friends. A few of them I haven't read but they don't belong to me so I'm going to read them and then pass them off again, i.e. they're in transit through my life so I'm not counting them as an item.

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The Boston Public Library is AWESOME. I've been there a few times but have largely underutilized it as a FREE resource.

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The courtyard in the middle of the BPL is pretty epic, although now that I'm almost done with the book Dracula, it reminded me a lot of vampires in Transylvania. I imagine it's a great spot in the summer to chill out because it removes you from the busy streets and its an alternative to the Boston Common which is usually littered with tourists.

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My new Boston Public Library Card! Access to free books, ebooks, dvd's, etc.

I had a bunch of questions for the staff member that hooked me up with my library card.  Basically there’s a bunch of cool things you can do and all of their services can be taken care of online.  I can reserve a book online at work and then go pick it up after work.  That way I know they have it before I make a trip to the library (novel concept I know, but I’m glad they have it).  This is super cool because it’s way faster than waiting for a book you order on Amazon to get to you.  Also it’s free.  The time length you can have each book is 21 days and you can renew it online.   They also have free e-books that you can use for 7 or 14 days and after that period they just don’t work anymore if you don’t renew them.  Having a stoic bookshelf that makes you look well-read is pretty cool, but in the spirit of this life challenge, it doesn’t make much sense to have hard copies of books hanging around the apartment.

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This is one of the many self-checkout stations. You pick up your book and then scan your BPL card's barcode, then scan the book's barcode, then you're done.

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Here's a picture of our stoic bookshelf. Between myself and my roommates we've got a pretty decent collection of literature. That's all well and good but as for functional use, it's pretty limited. However, for a minimalistic challenge, they're not even on the radar as being important. So I brought a few books home to my parents (classy hardcovers), I donated some to the Boston Public Library, and I'm giving the rest out to friends.

After I got myself registered with the Boston Public Library I downloaded the free Kindle app on my Macbook.  Amazon’s idea to do a free reader for computers was a great idea.  I’m not necessarily interested in purchasing another piece of electronics so having the ability to read books on my laptop will be awesome (yes I know the optical contrast of a laptop isn’t as good as e-ink and I agree, but it’ll be fine).  I think I’ll use the e-books mostly for popular reads and businessy books.  Eventually I’ll probably go back to hardcovers for the classics because I still like the feel and smell of real books.

Anyway, I’m excited to check out the Library more, it really is an incredible resource that I feel like many people don’t take advantage of.  I’ve lived in Boston for almost 5 years and I’ve only been there a handful of times.  Free books, free dvds, free ebooks, why would you buy anything on Amazon?  I agree that having physical books and dvd’s to keep is awesome, but I’m trying to live minimally so starting to use the library is a fantastic means to my minimal end.

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