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.


  1. I am a reader, too, but we share a bit of a different philosophy as to the treasure that books are.

    I'm not a huge fan of a public library for myself, but I do think that some of the luckiest folks in the world are those who work at the library.

    I was raised owning books. I'm sure it is a control issue, but I want to keep everything I read. That is why there are books stacked all over my house, books in baskets and boxes, under stuff and on top of things.

    I dog-ear my pages. If it was important enough or profound enough to notice it,I want to be able to find it again. I also write in my books. I make observations and comments for ME. It is like talking to the author. By the way, since my personal books are not read by hundreds of readers, I am here to tell you that the books do not implode if you do dog-ear a page or two...

    My grandson turns one on Wednesday. He is the owner of at least two or three dozen book courtesy of me. I've tried to cover all the beginner basics--Goodnight Moon, Pat the Bunny, almost all of the Dr. Seuss books, a beautifully illustrated edition of Mother Goose by Mary Englebreit, Little BabaJi (the pc version of Little Black Sambo) by Helen Bannerman.

    There are so many books that I want Jake to own. And he is read to every night because his parents want to raise a reader.

    Thanks for this blog. Very nice.

  2. I second Edith Ann's thanks. A good time to talk about books is ANY time. I fondly remember trips to the branch library down the road while growing up, and on special occasions we would go the BIG library downtown, and that beat any trip to Astroworld for this young gal. Mother would go to the arts and crafts books, dad to the history and war section, and I to the medical books.

    OK, Pilot, about that eye-rolling thing you mentioned, you can certainly roll them now. I know I've told this story before...

    There were some books that I would check out again and again, just because they fascinated me; one in particular on glands. I know, what child in their right mind reads stuff like that? Oh, and there was one on diseases of the blood, leukemias, etcs. I may not have understood all the terms but the pictures fascinated me. Little did I know that I would see the same things one day under a microscope in real life. How cool is that?

    In our personal collections at home, dad had his war encyclopedias as well as war/history fiction-type books, the Godfather, and plenty of machinist guides; mother adored Erma Bombeck and, boy do I remember "Our Bodies, Our Selves" (a real sign of the times); and I was very much into Judy Blume, H.P. Lovecraft, and Edgar Allen Poe.

    Thanks for a smile today, Ferret.

  3. Did either of you ever read the Betsy, Tacy and Tib collection by Maud Lovelace Hart? I loved these books so much in about the 3rd grade, that I hunted them down on ebay a couple of years ago and bought all I could find.

    Then I loaned them to a friend for her daughter to read, and you guessed it--that's the last I've seen of them.

    Those are among my very favorites.

    Sugar, when my oldest was 5 or 6, all he wanted for Christmas was a copy of Grey's Anatomy. His Aunt Nancy bought it for him.

  4. How cool! I, too, have a copy of Grey's Anatomy on my shelf, but I certainly was older than your child when it was added to my collection!

    I have never heard of those books you mention. Could you track them down in a library or on perhaps, if you are looking for replacements?

  5. I'm new to blogging. I write stories based on actual events. I have many pictures to add to my blog that go with the plot line. have had troubles, do you have any tips or suggestions. Forever thankful.