Is a Historian’s Library an Archive or a Living Thing?
This week I purged my bookshelves. As a Ph.D. historian, it initially felt like a risky move — somewhere in between disowning my former self and cutting out part of my brain.
In the end, though, I think the effect will be closer to pruning a big, old, tangled shrub so that it has some energy and breathing room to send out new growth.
When I moved with my family to a New Jersey suburb a decade ago, I clung to every last one of my books…