What textbooks did you hang on to after finishing school?

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I kept almost nothing from undergrad (except for the HarperCollins Study Bible, which is great). However, it seems like it might make sense to hold on to some of my grad school texts for reminders/refreshers once I'm employed in the field. And I had to buy some "fun" books for a class this semester - Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud, Proust and the Squid by Maryanne Wolf, and The History of Reading by Alberto Manguel - that I might keep because they're actually interesting.

So what school books have you held on to after graduating?

congratulations (n/a), Tuesday, 25 August 2009 14:27 (eleven years ago) link

i hung onto several french textbooks/workbooks. i figured that after receiving my minor in french, i should actually study and learn the language some day.

andrew m., Tuesday, 25 August 2009 14:29 (eleven years ago) link

I'm still clinging to my Norton Anthologies of whatever whatever from undergrad, and maybe some novels, although if I've kept them I did so because I liked them and now I have no idea which novels were undergrad remnants and which I acquired since graduation. Oh, I kept and will continue to keep the really nice hardback Shakespeare anthology from my Shakespeare class. And the Oxford Study Bible. The only books that I did not keep that I wish I still had were for a class called Motherhood in Culture and Politics, which was one of my favorite undergrad classes ever.

I hung on to some of my law school books for about a year, year and a half after I graduated, thinking I would refer to them on the regular, but my job is so specialized that I really haven't had the need. I managed to sell these - even ones that were a couple of editions out of date - for significant $$ on half.com. I do still have my public sector labor law book, since I'm a public employee/union steward, two evidence books, and the Bluebook and Diana Hacker's Writer's Reference (although these are newer editions than the ones I had in school), all of which I use almost daily.

she is writing about love (Jenny), Tuesday, 25 August 2009 14:36 (eleven years ago) link

i kept all the books i ever read for my english and religious studies classes. everything else got sollld.

fleetwood (max), Tuesday, 25 August 2009 14:39 (eleven years ago) link

a reader with a lot of adorno/barthes/etc, a norton anthology or two, and some books on civil rights and african-american drama.

Ømår Littel (Jordan), Tuesday, 25 August 2009 14:51 (eleven years ago) link

Film Art, everything from my graphic novel class (Maus, Jimmy Corrigan, My New York Diary, Fun Home, Epileptic, Stuck Rubber Baby, One Hundred Demons, Understanding Comics)

claws of jungle red (Stevie D), Tuesday, 25 August 2009 14:56 (eleven years ago) link

Oh, you know what? I kept the book from my critical race theory class and all the books from my feminist jurisprudence class because they had a lot of good essays in them.

she is writing about love (Jenny), Tuesday, 25 August 2009 14:59 (eleven years ago) link

Norton Anthologies, yeah

Indiana Morbs and the Curse of the Ivy League Chorister (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 25 August 2009 15:09 (eleven years ago) link

i have most of my lit class books and some linguistics stuff iirc

call all destroyer, Tuesday, 25 August 2009 15:12 (eleven years ago) link

it's all in storage at my parents house tho

call all destroyer, Tuesday, 25 August 2009 15:13 (eleven years ago) link

All my philosophy books. I dip into them extremely occasionally.

ledge, Tuesday, 25 August 2009 15:15 (eleven years ago) link

All of them except for the ones in math and science.

I was actually just thinking about this last night. There's a passage in Frederick Exley's A Fan Notes, which I'm currently reading, in which the narrator remarks, upon entering someone's apartment, that he's not "surprised to see that she had kept her college texts, Adolescent Psychology, Living Religions of the World, Philosophy of Education, and the inevitable Margaret Mead, those symbols that she had suffered exposure to loftier things and by such exposure had become a sanctimonious and blubbery ninny."

And so after reading that, I turned around and looked at the bookshelf behind me and realized there's no way I'm ever going to open up Philosophy of the Body or Coming of Age in Buffalo: Youth and Authority in the Postwar Era again, and I wondered whether I was needlessly hanging on to such things. There's an implication in A Fan's Notes that the woman is ostentatiously displaying her education, but I don't think that's why I keep them. In fact, there's something vaguely embarrassing about showcasing so many paperbacks with that telltale yellow "USED" sticker on the spine. The truth is that when I was in college, I had dreams of becoming an academic, so it was inconceivable to me that these books would ever seem completely useless. I guess I still cling to that notion to some degree; even if I have no designs on grad school, I faintly imagine that one day I might feel the need to bone up on my Merleau-Ponty.

I don't think twice about all the novels I've kept from my literature classes, though.

jaymc, Tuesday, 25 August 2009 15:48 (eleven years ago) link

well really keeping ANY books around your house is a form of "ostentatious display" unless you're an avid rereader. i almost never reread books but i still have two bookcases full of books.

congratulations (n/a), Tuesday, 25 August 2009 16:04 (eleven years ago) link

^^ yeah, this. i've got two shelves with loads of random books from college, that i ~should~ just sell/give away. honestly i'd much rather have a shelf of books TO READ than books i've already read.

will likely keep most of my medical textbooks, though, for reference. "reference."

crabRCISE (gbx), Tuesday, 25 August 2009 16:09 (eleven years ago) link


congratulations (n/a), Tuesday, 25 August 2009 16:09 (eleven years ago) link

xxp But for whose sake, Nick? I don't put books on a bookshelf to impress my guests. I do like having them within easy reach, though -- I hardly ever reread whole books, either, but occasionally I'll want to look up a quote or something -- and there's something personally pleasing about being able to just look at them all. It's good decor, too.

jaymc, Tuesday, 25 August 2009 16:10 (eleven years ago) link

I recently retrieved about a dozen undergrad and postgrad physics/maths texts from my parents' house where they've languished for nearly 20 years. I have this daft notion of being able to sell them.

Michael Jones, Tuesday, 25 August 2009 16:11 (eleven years ago) link

yeah i'm mostly just being provocative. but i do think there's an element of personality exhibitionism (or exhibitionism of what you want your personality to be) in displaying your books. we keep our books in a room that guests don't usually go into (office/computer room) but i still am slightly embarrassed by the dumb books in our collection.

congratulations (n/a), Tuesday, 25 August 2009 16:13 (eleven years ago) link

It's funny, I happen to be visiting my Mom right now and there are tons of college books here -- mostly novels, poetry, etc. from English classes, but also some Norton anthologies and some theology books, etc. Didn't keep any like Bio or Math books or anything. But I wonder what the point of keeping them is...There's plenty of awesome, awesome books, but they mostly sit almost 1000 miles away from me and should I want to reread them I would probably just get them from the library (as I recently did with "On a Winter's Night a Traveler"). Plus I was looking through some of them last night and it is kind of cringeworthy, what I underlined/noted at the time. Maybe I would rather a fresh copy.

I guess it would be more trouble than it's worth to get rid of...but I also have a significant nostalgic attachment to lots of them -- Could I really get rid of my copy of "Ulysses" even if I will probably never read it again??? So I keep them for kind of the same reason I keep letters from girlfriends past, like they are talismans or something of my life.

Dr. Johnson (askance johnson), Tuesday, 25 August 2009 16:17 (eleven years ago) link

Sister Carrie - Norton Critical Ed
Political Thought reader
Discipline and Punish
The American Presidency
Exit, Voice & Loyalty

That list excludes books I simply couldn't unload thanks to the genius who came up with the idea of changing 2 paragraphs and calling the book a new edition. Fuck that guy.

musically, Tuesday, 25 August 2009 16:17 (eleven years ago) link

I will also agree with jaymc -- books look awesome in an apartment or a house, especially full bookshelves. I dream of one day have awesome built in shelves in like a "study" or a "library" or something.

Dr. Johnson (askance johnson), Tuesday, 25 August 2009 16:18 (eleven years ago) link

It is not exhibitionism, it is aesthetics.

Dr. Johnson (askance johnson), Tuesday, 25 August 2009 16:19 (eleven years ago) link

Considering most book people I know freely admit to judging ppl by their book collections (or at least checking the books out as the first thing they do visiting a new house), it'd be surprising if they didn't have that in mind when sorting out where their own books go.

I kept virtually all my textbooks, but I can't even bring myself to get rid of some really awful books, so w/e.

stet, Tuesday, 25 August 2009 16:20 (eleven years ago) link

We have several areas in our apartment with books -- fiction in the living room, basic nonfiction/reference books in the dining room, and poetry/essays/memoirs in the bedroom. (Oh, and cookbooks in the kitchen.) Because the fiction is in a hutch, behind glass doors, the most visible bookcase to guests is the one in the dining room, and I do get mildly embarrassed by that one because it's filled with a) books from college with the yellow sticker, and b) lots of pop-culture-related books. I guess I'd rather "show off" our fiction collection, but ultimately I don't care about it enough, and I like the books where they are.

jaymc, Tuesday, 25 August 2009 16:24 (eleven years ago) link

All of them except for the ones in math and science.

I think I'm only going to keep my math and science books, but then again I'm gonna be an engineer

sylvia plathter cathter (Curt1s Stephens), Tuesday, 25 August 2009 16:55 (eleven years ago) link

n/a otm about why people keep books around: at least a little, for the exhibitionism. that's probably one of the reasons we have so many books, but plus they look good. what's funny to me about this is i don't think i would make fun of *anyone* for having certain books or books with USED labels on the side or whatever. so i maybe expect people to judge me on my books, but i don't judge people for their books, and i kind of like seeing those used stickers, i dunno.

Mr. Que, Tuesday, 25 August 2009 17:06 (eleven years ago) link

oh and I have a norton anthology of early brit lit, a hardbound complete Chaucer, some art books from art appreciation 101, and a bunch of english class books, but i have donated some. and my astronomy textbook from college, for the awesome pictures of *space*

now judge me, quick

Mr. Que, Tuesday, 25 August 2009 17:08 (eleven years ago) link

The only books I don't have from college are the ones I've lost. I tend not to get rid of books.

I have a set of penises leftover from some bach party somewhere (HI DERE), Tuesday, 25 August 2009 17:09 (eleven years ago) link

I think the used stickers just make my shelves look very just-out-of-college, like I don't have a "real" library full of books I've bought as an adult yet.

jaymc, Tuesday, 25 August 2009 17:09 (eleven years ago) link

yeah but jaymc, i think everyone knows how easy it is to just hang on to books like that, even though you've been out of college forever. i mean, i'm 90% sure i still have my "Oh The Places You'll Go" my mom gave me when i graduated high school

Mr. Que, Tuesday, 25 August 2009 17:12 (eleven years ago) link

Btw, I keep reading this thread title and thinking it's about textbooks that teach you how to curtsy.

jaymc, Tuesday, 25 August 2009 17:18 (eleven years ago) link

*The Art of Crumpets
*Tea Cozies I Have Known

Mr. Que, Tuesday, 25 August 2009 17:18 (eleven years ago) link


congratulations (n/a), Tuesday, 25 August 2009 17:20 (eleven years ago) link

- Norton Anthology of Postmodern American Poetry, ed. Paul Hoover
- American Music by Kyle Gann
- Manifestoes of 20th Century Architecture
- Japan 1933-1945

These are all undergrad. A lot of readers and books from grad school, of course, but since I am not finished with my MFA, I'm still hoarding them. And probably will continue to hoard them. I think that whether displays of books are ostentatious or not depends much on how they are displayed the the discipline(s) of the owner(s). For example, there is no fucking way I'm getting rid of all my poetry and theory books— since I write most criticism and poetry, I need to refer back to these works all the time, and will probably continue to need to do so.

my bach penises and their contrapuntal technique (the table is the table), Tuesday, 25 August 2009 17:42 (eleven years ago) link

*and the disciplines of the owners.

my bach penises and their contrapuntal technique (the table is the table), Tuesday, 25 August 2009 17:42 (eleven years ago) link

I was an English major, so about 99% of my college books were novels (or literary theory). The real question is about whether you ever kept those bound readers that professors handed out to save you the money on buying books. Nothing aesthetically pleasing about them, but often stuffed full of good essays/stories/etc.

Mordy, Tuesday, 25 August 2009 17:43 (eleven years ago) link

Kept every book relating to my major. They're in boxes in ma's basement right now, but when I had a bookshelf set up it was really handy for looking up trivia about the making of Citizen Kane and crap like that.

Also really should have but didn't keep the tons of printouts of out of print comics that my comix professor gave everyone.

ENERGY FOOD (en i see kay), Tuesday, 25 August 2009 17:46 (eleven years ago) link

the only point to keeping books around these days is to have a lending library for friends

Ømår Littel (Jordan), Tuesday, 25 August 2009 17:48 (eleven years ago) link

Mordy, in grad school, I plan on keeping most of my readers, because the profs who made them are excellent curators. I wish I had the list for Dod1e B3llamy's "Irresponsible Essay" seminar in front of me right now— a real treasure trove of stuff.

my bach penises and their contrapuntal technique (the table is the table), Tuesday, 25 August 2009 17:49 (eleven years ago) link

Yeah, I regret tossing a few of my course readers (cultural criticism, film theory) because most of what was in them were essays/articles from out of print books or old journals that I wouldn't come across at a bookstore. When I was doing the literature review part of my Master's thesis, I regretted it the most, because I remembered there being a few articles from those undergrad course readers that were pertinent, but I couldn't remember author or title info.

- I kept most of the novels/anthologies/plays/screenplays from my English lit classes
- I kept a lot of theory stuff, especially the art theory and film theory books that had color plates. Film Art: An Introduction is a good reference book
- I kept some books from classes I bought the books for, then dropped.
- I still have a couple of Intro to Latin books that my ex gave me that he said were good for learning the language on your own ... I never attempted this, though I intended to.
- I actually ended up "buying" some books from the library for grad school - I didn't return them, and paid the replacement cost

what happened? i am confused. (sarahel), Tuesday, 25 August 2009 19:48 (eleven years ago) link

I'm a big fan of selling back. I'd sell any physical book in my home right now if someone would buy them.

Jeff, Tuesday, 25 August 2009 23:27 (eleven years ago) link

I'm kinda tempted to do this ... we perpetually have stacks of books on the floor.

what happened? i am confused. (sarahel), Tuesday, 25 August 2009 23:28 (eleven years ago) link

damn it jaymc beat me. was gonna say:

tehresa, Tuesday, 25 August 2009 23:35 (eleven years ago) link

i still have an organic chemistry and physical chemistry textbook, they sit under my studio monitors

internetkonnektivität (electricsound), Tuesday, 25 August 2009 23:38 (eleven years ago) link

I didn't know they had textbooks in finishing schools.

The Real Dirty Vicar, Wednesday, 26 August 2009 16:48 (eleven years ago) link

Economics by Alain Anderton

(bracket name) (jel --), Wednesday, 26 August 2009 16:51 (eleven years ago) link

I kept all of my textbooks for about a year after getting my undergrad, but I eventually got sick of moving them (In the past five years I've moved seven times, including a trip from Tampa to Portland, OR).

I regret getting rid of a few books, though. I took many more classes than I needed to graduate, just cause I loved the subjects. And some of those books were very well written.

musicfanatic, Wednesday, 26 August 2009 17:03 (eleven years ago) link

I'm still clinging to my Norton Anthologies of whatever whatever from undergrad,


post-contrarian meta-challop 2009 (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 26 August 2009 17:05 (eleven years ago) link

Mine hasn't got the arrow stuck to the top though.

Ned Trifle II, Wednesday, 26 August 2009 17:06 (eleven years ago) link

And I still don't know how to do it.

Ned Trifle II, Wednesday, 26 August 2009 17:06 (eleven years ago) link

kept all of mine with the notable exception of the ones from an American Studies class, which was the worst class i ever had. threw those away in an attempt to eradicate them from the earth (mostly because 2 of them were written by the professor, who was a shitbag)

please link to them and breathe into a paper bag (jjjusten), Wednesday, 26 August 2009 17:06 (eleven years ago) link

i didn't keep much from undergrad -- i was an english major and most of my books were cheap reprints of the classics, so i figured i could replace those easily if i wanted to.

i've kept pretty much everything from grad school.

sally draper (get bent), Thursday, 27 August 2009 01:11 (eleven years ago) link

I'm still clinging to my Norton Anthologies of whatever whatever from undergrad

me too. i have a norton anthology lurking around my parents' place somewhere.

sally draper (get bent), Thursday, 27 August 2009 01:12 (eleven years ago) link

I kept everyyyy book from undergrad but then left them w/ my roommates while I left the country and they got lost when they moved out. was really annoyed. only book I have left is this, which woulda been my POO anyway:


iatee, Thursday, 27 August 2009 01:21 (eleven years ago) link

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