"A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic. It's a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you're inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years." -- Carl Sagan
Lately I've been coming across a lot of online articles about books and reading:
• A new line of tiny books that fit in one hand
• Five reasons to read aloud to your child
• Library opens in Turkey with books collected by sanitation workers (this is so cool!)
• Growing up surrounded by books could have a powerful, lasting effect on the mind
• The bookish life: How to read, and why
• In defense of libraries -- and why Amazon can never compare
• All those books you’ve bought but haven’t read? There’s a word for that
• One-third of all American teens have not read a single book within the past year
• Tsundoku: The practice of buying more books than you can read
• K-12: History of the conspiracy against reading
• Why you should surround yourself with more books than you'll ever have time to read
• Americans don't read ... and that’s affecting our elections
• This 1897 text gives three clues why today's students can't write
• Middle school reading lists 100 years ago vs. today
• Fill your home with books!
This plethora of articles all tout the benefits of reading. It seems people are waking up to the notion that personal electronics can never substitute for a good book (even an electronic one).
Many readers are familiar with the Lewis Family Book Obsession. At one point we have over 5000 volumes in our home. We've trimmed back considerably -- donated many books to local thrift stores, gave a lot of our now-unneeded schoolbooks to a homeschooling friend, etc. -- but we still have a lot of books. And I wouldn't have it any other way.
This Lewis Family Book Obsession afflicts our daughters too. Older Daughter (working as a live-in nanny for a professional family in New Jersey) had so many books in her room that they overflowed her two large bookshelves and took up residence in multiple piles on the floor. (Blame the excellent library sales they have on the more populated east coast.)
Younger Daughter has it tougher. Being in the Navy, all her possessions must be portable, so she's pretty much limited to a Kindle.
I own a book called "A Gentle Madness: Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Passion for Books" which documents people far more obsessed than we are regarding books. While I doubt we'll ever reach these extremes, I can understand -- thoroughly understand -- the siren call.
As get we older, Don and I are paring down our possessions, but no matter how far we go, we'll never get rid of our books. In my opinion, a home without books is a sterile place indeed.
Then too -- ahem -- there's this: