I Believe in Books
Today I finished reading a novel. I read a short story and I read a chapter of a non-fiction book. The novel was “The Life of Pi.” It’s a fantastic story of a young man from India who is the sole survivor, along with a tiger, of a shipwreck. They subsist on fish on a lifeboat for over a year. I believed this book.
I’m re-reading all of Flannery O’Connor’s short stories. Today I read “The Turkey.” It’s a dark story, as are all of her stories, about a wild turkey. I know it’s fiction, but I believed it. Because this is the 200th year of Darwin’s birth, I’m reading about him and also reading his “The Origin of the Species.” I’ve been reading this for three years. It’s rough going.
I’ve always believed in books. Now I believe in them because reading has become precious. I’m going slowly blind and reading is getting more and more difficult. The more difficult it gets, the more I want to read. The more I read the more I realize how much more there is to read.
My 70 year old hands love holding books, love the feel of them, their covers, their insides and their looks as they sit on tables and bookshelves throughout my house.
I believe in the places where books are bought or borrowed. I love libraries and bookstores and book traders and book groups. I like to wander through stacks of books in people’s homes. You can tell a lot about people from the books they have – or don’t have.
When on airplanes or busses I’m always craning my neck to see what other people are reading. I carry little notebooks and copy titles of books I think I might like to read.
I know I can read books online. I don’t want to. I want to hold books. I want to save them. I have hundreds. I like to give them to my children and grandchildren from time to time. I allow people to borrow my books and I borrow from others. I believe you can tell a lot about people from how long, if ever, it takes them to return books.
I believe in books because no one is hurrying me. I can read slowly or quickly or, in the case of “Origin of the Species”, laboriously. I can read them aloud to myself and I can read them to children and emote as much as I please. I can laugh and cry with books.
If I live long enough to go completely blind I’ll have Braille, but for now I have books. I believe they are gifts from their authors given to me for pleasure and for learning. Some of them, like Pi, are unbelievable, but I believe in all of them.
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