Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Cut yer books HERE!

Well, I made a comment over at Mother-In-Law in response to her request on recommendations for wheeled bags and which were best for law school about cutting books. Since LawMom and Divine Angst both asked me to elaborate on the book cutting part of my comment, I will.

During my 1L year, we didn't have lockers at school because we are in a brand new building and they hadn't arrived and been installed yet. This meant that the weight of my books was approximately equal to that of a 1972 Dodge Dart. It was obscene how much they weighed. So, when the 2/3Ls told me about book cutting I jumped right in.

When you decide to cut your books, you may have certain feelings that you don't know how to handle. You may feel guilty about cutting up a nice, beautiful (looking) book. You may think it's kind of sacreligious since you are a book lover and would never normally hack through the spine of a $100+ book and drill holes in it before inserting it in a neon colored binder with your school logo on it. DON'T! Just don't. Don't feel guilty. Think about the scoliosis, neck trauma, pinched nerves, and various assorted other physical ailments you are avoiding by not carrying around 50+ pounds of books. Think about your knees. And you back. Think about convenience! Think about the fact that you don't need to keep all your law books anyway "for reference" because they'll be out of date in a year or two anyway as cases are decided and the laws change.

Many people new to the book-cutting craze may wonder, how do I go about cutting my books? Well, lucky for you I have answers (for a change). Many people take their books to Kinkos, but I prefer the copy shop across from the school that is owned be some very sketchy looking people who have absolutely no qualms about cutting my books to pieces. I have friends that have had issues with Kinkos not wanting to do the deed. Anyhoo, I just march right in there with my books and ask to have them cut. When I come back an hour later, the binding is cut off of each book and what's left is the pages, with the covers on each end like a book sandwich, held together with a rubber band. Each book costs about $5 to cut and drill holes in, I think they calculate by number of pages or something, but I'm not sure.

In terms of binding, some people have just the pages bound with a spiral thingie that allows them to carry just that. Some people break each book up into pieces and parts and have those spiral bound. I personally have the copy shop drill holes in my book and I put the whole thing into a binder. Each book gets its own three ring binder, and then there is one binder that I carry in my backpack with dividers for each subject and the pages, usually for the whole week's reading, in each section. The one thing you have to be careful of is that you put the pages back each week in order, nothing would be worse that to get to the exam and realize you put the pages out of order or worse yet, forgot an entire week in your combined binder.

All that being said, this year we have lockers, and I have an office I share, so I haven't been doing it this year because I leave all my books in my office and do most of my studying in there. Books from past quarters are stored in the locker. HOWEVER -- for 1L year, even with the lockers, I would cut my books again. It's so nice when you're taking all your reading home for the weekend to just have one binder with everything for the next week. It's mentally helpful too when you see just those few pages instead of a stack of big thick books on your desk.

I am somewhat horrified that I got an entire post out of book cutting, but whatever.
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