July 23, 2020
Books are a kind of magic, the alchemy of paper and ink that coalesces to create a whole new universe out of what had been empty space. Between the covers of books, there are nearly endless worlds to discover, people to meet, places to travel.
There are books on concrete and chocolate, rice and rats. Through them, you can come to know Cornelius Vanderbilt, Frederick Douglass and Jane Austen so well, it's as if you had just run into them at the local Wal-Mart. (okay. . .you probably wouldn't run into Vanderbilt at the Wal-Mart but . . .)
In books, there are worlds filled with vampires and mermaids, the ghosts of children seeking justice and boys and girls seeking their true selves. There are the endless variations of girl meets boy, girl loses boy, girl finds an equally satisfying alternative and possibly the boy again as well. And while not my cup of coffee, millions find this a much needed, satisfying antidote, to a world that is oft times ugly and unaccepting, and frequently cruel.
Books are the great equalizer. There is no need for a lot of money or broadband. To quote Albert Einstein: “The only thing you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library.”
I have never understood people who didn't enjoy reading. I say this with no judgment, because to be fair, I also don't understand people who knit or run marathons. (I mean. . .really. . .why?) Without books what do you do on long plane rides? What keeps you sane as you sit in the parking waiting for one more endless ballet practice to end? Where do you travel in your dreams?
Currently, I have dozens of soon to be explored universes in the form of to be read books, piled haphazardly all around the house just waiting for me to dive in. Books are my happy place, my escape from trials and troubles, my door to the new and exciting, the scary and enlightening.
Jorge Luis Borges imagined that Paradise would be a kind of library. I think he's right. Would could be more perfect than being surrounded for all eternity by those you love and a neverending supply of books?