One of the things that I find the most frustrating about the pandemic is how it's cut off my access to inter-library loan. Losing the ability to request otherwise inaccessible books has put a crimp in my plans for my website, as well as denying me the ability to evaluate books before spending the money to add them to my shelves.
Worst of all, though, has been how it's supercharged my acquisitiveness. For a while now I've tried to rein in my book buying by reminding myself that with a little planning and a little patience I can read just about any book I want without having to spend a cent. Thanks to this, I have kept my bookshelves in a more manageable state than they would be had I purchased every book that I wanted to read. My TBR pile would be enormous.
For the past several months, though, inter-library loans have no longer been a option. My book buying has gone up commensurately. While I've focused on making long-term acquisitions, there have been a few that have ended up in the shopping cart less because I wanted to keep them then simply because I wanted to have access to them.
The latest candidate for acquisition is the six-volume Life of Herbert Hoover. It's a series that I've orbited around reading for nearly three decades now. At one point I owned the first three volumes, only to jettison them as low-priority reads cluttering my shelf in place of more useful books. Because, if I wanted to read them I could just request them through ILL, right?
Now I'm thinking about how much I'd like to have them. It helps that I'm in the process now of clearing out the space on my shelf for them by reading Forrest Pogue's four volumes on George Marshall, which I'm enjoying but would probably never reread. Reading about Hoover will probably prove even more time-consuming, but he's someone who I've always wanted to understand in depth. Six books covering his life would certainly achieve that; the challenge is to keep the cost manageable.