Today, I figured it was time to attack the bookshelf in earnest. Sure, I’ve gone through other items from the bookshelf, but never really that much the shelf’s initial primary purpose – reading materials of all types.
I’ve got a collection of magazines that I’ve trimmed, prioritized, purged and catalogued before, and this is the latest, and last, time I will be doing this exercise in futility. I can recall at least three previous major instances before this one, where I’ve gone through old issues of magazines in order to pare down the collection to something manageable, relevant, and with some sort of realistic reading goal. There have also been “lighter” moments, where I’d notice I had a smallish stash and knew I wasn’t going to read them (promotional subscriptions mainly), so I’d toss the short stack at that time, rather than let it accumulate any more.
The first was going through old back issues of Time Magazine that a friend in High School, who was moving back to France, had around the house was not going to go with his family. So on a cold and rainy late winter/early spring Montreal afternoon, I made my way home, with what was roughly 3 years of weekly issues. When I got home, I sorted and organized them all by year, then issue date, so that I could easily work through them. I was set, and ready to go! After about a year or so, and maybe 10 pages of the first issue, they would up in the recycling bin before moving. So much for that plan, but I was young and (overly) ambitious about the reading. Not to mention, if you really look at it at all, Time doesn’t have much appeal to a 12 year old.
For some time after that, even though I had magazine subscriptions (all monthlies or less frequent), I usually perused whatever issue within a week of it hitting my mailbox, and then disposed of it. Clearly, the lesson of my youth had taught me something! It was also a period in my life where I was spending a LOT of time reading. Technical materials, such as a book on ASP on the bus on my way to and from work – while standing no less; my hometown newspaper, The Gazette for local, national and international news… but primarily for the comics, doing the crosswords, and the entire “Comics and Hobbies” section in the Saturday Edition; recreational materials, especially sci-fi/fantasy and mystery novels; finally, there were also outliers, such as Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.
The second magazine purge was somewhere around 2005, where I’d amassed a stockpile of copies of “Visual Basic Programmer’s Journal” (later to become the less language specific “Visual Studio Magazine“), MSDN Magazine and a few others I can’t recall, to prove the point of how meaningful they were! At that time, further along in my career, I thought that I should keep them in order to have them available as reference material. It didn’t matter that there was no system of any type, other than magazine holders marked with the name of the periodical(s) it contained, and date ranges. As long as I could remember “AH, I read that in this magazine, around this time”, it would be fine I thought. Again, that’s even IF I had made the time to read them. There was also a return to the thought that I could pick up a set at a given time and read through them… with discretion. I didn’t need to read EVERYTHING I thought, just what I’m immediately interested in, and be aware of the rest… for future reference. Yeah.
The third time was after we’d moved to our new house (where I’d dragged a few boxes of magazines), and needed to make room for the daughter we were expecting. Given that my office space was to be her bedroom, I needed to pare down how much stuff I had, so to make it all fit within a single bookshelf. This was down from the three I had in the office space! Though all three bookshelves weren’t packed to the brim, there was still a decent amount of “stuff” in them. Reading materials, mementos, CDs, DVDs, computer parts and hardware, and on and on. I flashed back to my previous purges, but was slightly more judicious in my expungement of magazines. I allowed myself to keep a single holder’s worth of magazines that I was going to read and dispose of later – all others had to go at that time. I think I actually looked through most of the ones I’d kept at that time!
Which brings us to this current, and truly final purge of magazines that I no longer want or need to keep around. This first set if from Code Magazine, which is a very interesting and relevant publication for software developers. They cover all sorts of languages, platforms and technologies, and truly pique my interest in technology and learning new things. I first started receiving as a promotional offer for having attended one of their events, and have been a fan. However, most of the information is available online, and since the cycle of changes in technology, especially software, is so fast. An issue from Jan/Feb 2013 probably has only 25% of its content that is still relevant today. Also, they make the information available on the magazine’s site. I don’t need to maintain an archive of their information for them!
Tomorrow will assuredly bring a different publication to reminisce about, and then toss onto the purge pile!