Monday, January 3, 2011

Holding Hopes and Dreams: Why I LOVE REAL Books

Real paper and ink books are so munch more than a story, or words to take into my brain.  They are an experience, a relationship, a connection that cannot be replaced with technology, for me.  There is an old saying, it is often attributed as a Chinese Proverb ... To read a book for the first time is to make an acquaintance with a new friend; to read it for a second time is to meet an old one.

I recently started re-reading my 1850, possibly first edition, copy of Currer Bell's (aka Charlotte Bronte) "Shirley".  I came to have this treasure quite by accident I'm sure. I do not even recall exactly where I found it, but I know I was in a used book store, or possibly a second hand store.  As is typical for me when acquiring new volumes, I could FEEL the life energy vibrating off of this book directly at me.  Sometimes, I think that the books choose me, I don't choose them.  I am pretty sure that I paid no more than $2 for this book, to later discover it's true identity, and value.  This really is how I have come to have most of the prized books in my collection, though most are not as materially valuable as this one.  I read them. All of them.  Sometimes many many times, and sometimes skimming through them.  I have several wonderful books.  A few of them are recent, meaning within the last 20 years, but most are well over a hundred years old.  They are like friends.  They bring me comfort. They bring me wisdom.  They make me laugh and cry.  They bring me a connection to the past as no other antique pieces I have ever known.  Every word becomes a part of me, and helps to shape me.  My collection tends to be focused around antique textbooks, medical texts, and classic literature and poetry.

Their monetary value means nothing to me, what I value is the history, the connection that I feel with every previous owner that has read and treasured every word.  Each person has left a piece of their DNA on this book, and in my way of understanding, it can never be removed; and my own is now added to the life history of these tomes!

I love the way old books smell, when they are not dirty and musty that is!  I love the hand written notes in the margins, that give me a little glimpse into the psyche of a previous reader.  I rarely add my own notes, as I often feel that they simply do not live up to the depth of the aged ones.  I love when old pictures are used as page markers, and left, or when flowers are pressed in them.  I once found a small hand written dinner invitation, that while it does not have a year in the date, but by the day and month and style of hand writing, I would place it circa 1910!

When I hold any of my treasured books in my hands, when I read each word, when I let my fingers caress the ancient old pages, I feel that I have the honor and privilege of touching history.  Like I am holding hands with every hand that has caressed this treatise, and am contributing my own energy to the energy that it holds.  You cannot get these FEELINGS and connections from a kindle, or e-book! Or any other electronic form of literature!  I recognize the fun of technology, and the convenience and ease for travel purposes, and I even possess a few electronic forms of personal development and educational readings.  Still, in my heart and mind, nothing will ever replace a real live, paper page book for my literature!

One day, these beloved volumes will belong to another, most likely my daughter, as she as a similar love of my classic treasures!

Pick up a real book, and love it for the paper and link that made it for, "Many people, other than the authors, contribute to the making of a book, from the first person who had the bright idea of alphabetic writing through the inventor of movable type to the lumberjacks who felled the trees that were pulped for its printing.  It is not customary to acknowledge the trees themselves, though their commitment is total.  ~Forsyth and Rada, Machine Learning"