During the previously-mentioned reorganization of my office, I was faced with a difficult quandry: what to do with a large stack of outdated computer books. I’m not sure if I’ve every actually thrown away a book in my life. Even heinous offences against nature (such as the Reader’s Digest Condensed Books that somehow materialize in every book collection) typically get donated to Goodwill rather than simply chucked. This time, though, I really did it. I threw books away.
Sure, these weren’t books that I (or anyone else) would ever use again, even if four or five of them were O’Reilly titles. Books from 2000 on the Windows registry or NT event logging are not exactly hot properties, and any information they contain can now be found more efficiently and more reliably on the Internet.
In the berzerker frenzy of cleaning, the volumes went straight into the recycling bin. I barely even felt it at the time. In retrospect, though, I feel more than a few pangs of guilt. It was the right thing to do, but . . . .
It will take some time to reconcile this with my self-image.