Brief Notes on the Art and Manner of Arranging One’s Books | Georges Perec

Brief Notes on the Art and Manner of Arranging One’s Books | Georges Perec

2. About OrderA library that is not arranged becomes disarranged: this is the example I was given to try and get me to understand what entropy was and which I have verified experimentally several times.Disorder in a library is not serious in itself; it ranks with “Which drawer did I put my socks in?” We always think we shall know instinctively where we have put such and such a book. And even if we do not know, it will never be difficult to go rapidly along all the shelves.Opposed to this apologia for a sympathetic disorder is the small-minded temptation toward an individual bureaucracy: one thing for each place and each place for its one thing, and vice versa. Between these two tensions, one which sets a premium on letting things be, on a good-natured anarchy, the other that exalts the virtues of the tabula rasa, the cold efficiency of the great arranging, one always ends by trying to set one’s books in order. This is a trying, depressing operation, but one liable to produce pleasant surprises, such as coming upon a book you had forgotten because you could no longer see it and which, putting off until tomorrow what you will not do today, you finally redevour lying face down on your bed.

via Brief Notes on the Art and Manner of Arranging One’s Books | Georges Perec.

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