With a couple of exceptions, I now only own 3 books. I recently passed on my favorite to someone who might discover something new, even though the words, though translated, are ancient. I don’t know how many books I’ve obtained, only to pass them on to someone else. If I do that, you should know that I found it to be meaningful and want someone to have that same feeling.
Books are worlds. Anyone who disagrees isn’t a bibliophile. I am. You wouldn’t know it by the number of books I own. Having beloved books is certainly a comfort. “I’ll grab one and re-read it,” so many say. For the most part, we don’t follow through. Life is too fast, there are too many distractions, and who has that kind of time? We all do. We just rarely make it. Also, there are so many great books being written, especially by first-time authors. If I miss a book and want to drown in it again, I will find a copy at the library or in one of the new or used bookstores here in NWA.
I love the sight of a mass of books, especially if they are haphazardly placed. This usually means the owner’s fingers often pluck them from their respective perches and read them. The same is true for worn pages, coffee stains, or signs of wear. Books are like us, wrinkles and aged experience. Their contents don’t change, but how we behold them when we take the time to read them certainly does. It’s amazing how many times I’ve reread something only to find that I have changed even though the letters I’m reading have not.
Books aren’t possessions, though we treat them as such. They are like cats, beholden to no one. They are also like cherished photos, ones that sit in closets or under beds, sealed away for safekeeping; they’d rather be seen and touched and remembered for what they are. Time will desiccate the living hands who neglect them.
They are old friends. Though unvisited, they wait for us, timeless and frozen in amber.