Archive for November 14th, 2012

Until recently, I wasn’t aware how completely books dominate my physical existence.  Only when I started cataloging my possessions did I realize that there are books in every room in my house, 1,340 in all.  My obliviousness to this fact has an obvious explanation: I am of Irish descent, and to the Irish, books are as natural and inevitable a feature of the landscape as sand is to Tuaregs or sand traps are to the frat boys at Myrtle Beach.  You know, the guys with the belted shorts.  When the English stormed the Emerald Isle in the 17th century, they took everything that was worth taking and burned everything else.  Thereafter, the Irish had no land, no money, no future.  That left them with words, and words became books, and books, ingeniously coupled with music and alcohol, enabled the Irish to transcend reality.
People who need to possess the physical copy of a book, not merely an electronic version, believe that the objects themselves are sacred. Some people may find this attitude baffling, arguing that books are merely objects that take up space.  This is true, but so are Prague and your kids and the Sistine Chapel.  Think it through, bozos.
The world is changing, but I am not changing with it.  There is no e-reader or Kindle in my future.  My philosophy is simple: Certain things are perfect the way they are.  The sky, the Pacific Ocean, procreation and the Goldberg Variations all fit this bill, and so do books.  Books are sublimely visceral, emotionally evocative objects that constitute a perfect delivery system.
Electronic books are ideal for people who value the information contained in them, or who have vision problems, or who have clutter issues, or who don’t want other people to see that they are reading books about parallel universes where nine-eyed sea serpents and blind marsupials join forces with deaf Valkyries to rescue high-strung albino virgins from the clutches of hermaphrodite centaurs, but they are useless for people engaged in an intense, lifelong love affair with books.  Books that we can touch; books that we can smell; books that we can depend on.  Books that make us believe, for however short a time, that we shall all live happily ever after.
     —    Joe Queenan
From:  “One for the Books
[This quote is from a column posted on the Wall Street Journal online site titled:  “My 6,128 Favorite Books“, and is an excerpt from Queenan’s book.
I found the link to this article on a blog I follow:  Lead.Learn.Live maintained by David Kanigan.  Dave’s blog  (post) was titled: “He’s Read 6128 Books
I too suffer from book hoarding syndrome.  I too have a Nook.  I have tried it, but don’t care for it for reading books.  I use the Nook as a portable dictionary and web browser (mostly reading news or email).  I find it grossly inadequate as a tool for typing or other data input.  I use my home computer (desktop / netbook) for most everything else.
When I was younger, I would only open a book so wide as to read it, but not so wide as to break the binding.  Most of the books I bought were paperbacks as hardbound were far to expensive for my budget.  Now, while I “respect” the books (don’t destroy them), I also dog-ear them and underline them and write comments in the margins.  Over time, I’ve found that books are like old friends I’m having an on-going conversation with.  I can come back later to refresh the conversation or just touch bases with their ideas.  And, of course, there’s the requirement for a steady stream of quotes for this blog.   —    KMAB]

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