Books are Worthy of Moving

As always, when one is packing up all their belongings to move, it’s difficult not to assess the sheer volume of things one has, and why exactly they are treasured enough to hold on to from one move to the next. I can easily part with pieces of old clothing, odd and ends unused for a long time from the kitchen or bathroom or otherwise, but a particular group of items has always been hard for me to toss into my “goodwill” pile: books. I can’t tell you how many books I have, but between my husband and I, It’s a good amount considering our short life thus far. It’s not even that I have great plans to re-read them all, infact I RARELY re-read a book. I think really, it’s just that I love to look at them, collect them, feel them, and have a visual stock of all the time i’ve put into devouring their words and filing their lessons and entertainment and information into my brain. I don’t remember half of what I read, so having the book there on display reminds me sometimes of the different literary journeys i’ve gone on. I’ve always been a bookworm, that’s never changed. What has been changing though is what I read, how I read it, and the availability of books in my life.

This digital age has got me down. I’m sure MANY will disagree with me (including my techie husband), but I don’t like digital books. I read blogs and other things very frequently, and they do take up a lot of my limited reading time these days (as i’m sitting here writing one, ha), but I still have stacks of books everywhere in my home that I’m working on reading. I haven’t gotten a digital reading device of any kind, somewhat out of protest. I know that books are “wasteful” in terms of paper (I mean, I am a horticulturist right!? shouldn’t I want to save the trees!), but we have all sorts of recycling programs I don’t think that is the issue here at all. For me, it is the actual physical feel of a book in my hands, the look of the pages, the ability to mark it up as I please, pass it along to friends, fold over corners, stack them in pretty lines on my bookshelf making the rainbow of bindings and titles visible to me as I walk by.
I’m sad.
I’m sad thinking that Pascal might never have the chance to be a book hoarder like me.
I think that having the physical books makes reading more exciting for children, and adults (like me anyways). I don’t see kids thirsting after reading in general as much anymore. I don’t want to say to him “don’t forget your kindle”, so much like an ipod or gameboy or whatever else. I want to see him cart around a stack of books on road trips that takes up a whole bag in the seat next to him. I want him to have a record of love notes from family and friends who write on the inside flap dedicating the book gift to him, giving him bits of advice and creating a history for him to look back on like I have.

One of my most treasured books is an old “Harriet the Spy” book that my deceased Nanna wrote in when I was in elementary school, I look at it at least every year on the anniversary of her death. Part of it says “to my Sara, so much like Harriet”. I get warm fuzzies because I know what she means, it evokes fond memories, and it’s part of my history.
Sure I have passed on some books to goodwill, but I ALWAYS keep the ones people have written in. I keep the ones that mean something to me. I keep the ones with good reference material and the ones I hope to read soon.

My most treasured book is my Bible…not that the way it looks would necessarily tell you that (it’s rather quite mangy looking right now). As often as I ignore it on my coffee table, next to my bed, under a stack of mail or wherever it ends up, I always come back to it and cling to it with fondness. It’s MY bible, with my markings, my bookmarks and sticky notes. I can’t tell you how many times (ashamedly) i’ve “lost it” after not reading it for a while and panicked because even though I could read the bible from really limitless other sources (especially digitally), I wanted to read MY own bible. Now, Patient husband likes to “listen” to his new fangled bible on his IPhone, and if that’s your thing, great! It’s not mine. To me, there is nothing like feeling the pages, underlining parts that resonate with me in the moment or that I want to memorize, writing small notes in the margin, and re-reading lines I need to try to understand better. Listening to someone speak words to me, or reading them on a screen, just isn’t the same at all to me, and never will be. Maybe i’m alone in this, but I like the word of God on a page, tangible, readily available, and able to be carted around without having to worry about it being “charged” so I can read it.

What will personal libraries look like for our children? A data folder on their computer of different titles that they ignore amongst their games and music? I don’t know what the future of books is really, maybe i’m just being nostalgic and trying to justify having about 5 boxes overfilled and over weight with paper pages to have to move, but I hope it’s not as grim as I’m anticipating. At least Pascal will have my books. At least I’ll have a library for him to look at and page through with wonder. Or maybe he will hate books. I guess we will just have to wait and see.

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One comment on “Books are Worthy of Moving

  1. I love, love LOVE this. And while I’m a bit of a sell out (parents got me a Kindle for Christmas and I’m ashamed how quickly I fell in love with the convenience of it), I completely agree about cherishing the feel of a book.

    Solidarity, sister.
    Well…talks of solidarity. I use the Kindle more than I thought I would.

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