Sunday, February 7, 2010
Books: A Sensual Experience
I've written about this long-lasting love affair I've had with the written word, before, but as is often the case I've remembered other things I thought I'd share.
When I was growing up, public library visits were frequent and I was left to indulge any flavor of books my hunger desired. For awhile I read every Dr. Seuss book that I could find. My mom was always practical and she did try to persuade me to read more mature books, but once I showed her that beyond the silly pictures were words whose meanings I had to decipher, she backed off. I was only in the third grade and I did stumble over the words, but when I sat cross-legged on my bed reading aloud, my room filled with palatable flavors of wonder.
Biographies intrigued me, as I wondered how someone would live a life worthy of being recording in such detail. Again, my mother brought me back down and explained that even when there was dialogue, it sometimes was embellished by the writer. That helped me relax, because I sure didn't want to remember every conversation I had to give to the author of my biography. Helen Keller was my favorite biography. That should have been a clue to how my life would take a dramatic turn later on.
Books were honored in our house. No dog eared pages, allowed. Sign your name neatly on the card for the librarian. Return the books on time. Read every day, even if just a little bit.
Now, people are giving up on the feel of the paper as it caresses the fingers turning the pages. Smelling the aroma of a freshly bought book or the musty aroma of the second-hand book that had escaped from your house years earlier. Those reminders of how precious books are, quickly are fading like yesterday's cut flowers. In spite of technology, we must contain to enjoy the experience of paper, thoughts, and ink. Books are treasures for young and old; for rich and poor alike; for city folks to country bumpkins.
Books are the great equalizer. Sit down with someone who loves books and all barriers disappear.
We need books.
We desire books.