Legal Quandary

Friday, August 26, 2005

To Cut or Not to Cut

That is the question.

Well, in my case, the answer is - without a doubt - to cut. My books that is.

Someone was asking about cutting their texts the other day. I forget who because...well, did I mention I was 1453 posts behind? 1453, people!

At any rate, if I had any doubts as to whether to hack the little bastards into more manageable pieces, they were resolved this morning on the mile-long trek to the metro. My back was killing me - and that was carrying only 3 books. So, Kinkos, here I come.

I'm generally not a big fan of cutting my books. I did it during my first 2 quarters of 1L, and yes, it made the trip to and from school much easier. But it makes the pages more difficult to manage, and since you're taking them out of one binder to put them in another binder, only to replace them in the original binder once the week is over, you risk tearing some of the pages. If you decide to cut, be sure to buy some reinforcements (or as we so lovingly called them in the Air Force - Paper Assholes.)

Things I hate about cutting: 1) You actually have to be a little careful about putting your pages back in the correct order. Not so tough if your prof marches straight through the text, but more challenging if your prof skips around. 2) It's more difficult to refer back. I typically carry a whole week's worth of reading for each class with me, but you still can't look up the stuff you did last week. Or the statute on page 912 that's referenced in the case on page 115. 3) You have to buy binders in which to store the chopped books. And the binders are bigger and bulkier than the book's original binding. No problem, you say, I'll only be keeping them at home. Except if you have an open book final - you'll be schlepping the damned thing with you. Large binders are also not nearly as easy to flip through when you're looking for something in a hurry. Like on a final. 4) There's not much of a market for cut books, so if you cut 'em, you're stuck with 'em.

All that said, I'm still going to do it. When Mr. Q replaced my computer bag, he bought me a computer backpack which can only realistically carry 3 books. This becomes a problem on Wednesdays when I have all 5 of my classes. Also, I think the bag itself is one of the heaviest backpacks out there. Combined with the weight of my laptop AND all those damned books, my backpack can easily weigh about 40 pounds. And that's really heavy. One binder filled with all my reading for the week seems so much more manageable.

And it leaves room in the backpack for things like lunch. And that's a really good reason.

The only thing standing between me and cutting my books is my bike. I am able to stash my books in my saddle bags, and not feel the godforsaken weight. Otherwise, I'd be right beside ya.
The tearing pages thing is sort of tricky, as is the referring back. I thought about that second one just the other day.

My goal, though, is to keep most of my books/binders at school. I guess I can just make notes about things to reference and look them up after class.
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