Monday, April 14, 2008

An editor's boggled mind

There are people I know who do not save books. When they're done with them, they throw them away.

The thought boggles my mind.

I think that somewhere around my house I still have my original copy of The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins, the first book I clearly remember reading. (Where would we be if it wasn't for Dr. Seuss?) Books on the shelf are not merely items of attractiveness, although they are that. They are little reminders of places where your brain has been, and being surrounded by the books you've read is like living within a map of every imaginary journey you've ever taken. Throw that away? Not on your life.

By now I've managed quite successfully to run out of room for all the books I've read, but I still haven't thrown any away. My daughter at a very early age began furnishing her room with my books (and we had many a discussion of the difference between mine and hers), and now her apartment is where any book I'm happening to look for in my house probably has transferred itself. But that is as it should be. Books are for reading, for looking at and treasuring, but also for passing along. Could there be any greater shared pleasure than a book both of us have read and enjoyed? Not many, at least, not in my book.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm with you Jim. My shelves are full at home, so often times I share great books I have finished with friends. If they find their way back, they are donated for someone else to enjoy. When my father-in-law was cleaning out his mother's house he was going to throw away her books. Luckily, my mother-in-law was there and saved them. I took the records. I get a lot of enjoyment out of listening to music and reading. One person's trash is another person's treasure!