17 August 2010

Perish this particular thought

Via teh facebooks, I saw an article from Sunday's Post inquiring as to the future of the home library.  Allow me to say, unequivocally, that this assault on culture and learnedness shall not stand.  

At least not in my house. 

You see, anyone who knows me well can attest that I love my books.  I love their look, their smell, and even the words printed in them.  I catalog them and gently arrange them according to my own bizarre sense of logic.  I bought an old fashioned rocking chair so I could sit around and read them for hours while gently relaxing.  And yes, I have a room of my house dedicated to my books, and I'm out of shelf space.  I particularly cherish older editions of great works.  Of course, there are a few that go unread, that I keep for purely quirky value, like that 900 page beast on what the U.S. should do about the Soviet Union after the fall of the Berlin Wall, published about a month before the Soviet Union ceased to be.  I picked that one up at a used book store in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and bought it out of sympathy for the poor schmuck who did all that work.  

Then there are others.  The books inscribed with love by my English teacher from high school, who is one of my personal heroes.  A random assortment of titles about the U.S. Civil War, shelves dedicated to my weird fascinations with Queen Elizabeth I and Eleanor Roosevelt, inspirational pieces from activists of yore, and heavily used books from grad school all have their place.  

I spend far too much time in used book stores, looking for something unique to jump out at me, or hoping to find treasures by favorite authors that may have since gone out of print (I found one just last week).  

I'm not going to be so bold as to say I'll never have some tacky electronic book reader.  I (sort of) see their merits.  But to think that I'll ever be willing to give up that visceral connection you make with a text you hold in your hands and flip through with care seems preposterous.  So I'm keeping my books.  And trying to figure out where to put them all. 

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