Why I Love Books

July 18, 2010

My bookcase is about ten feet tall, with eight shelves. Every shelf is full, and I have more books piled on top of the bookcase and in layers on the bottom shelf. I have more books on my nightstand, a rotating litany of genres, and another row on my desk shelf.

I want more.

I also have a flatscreen TV in the living room, but I only turn it on for the morning news, or for evenings with Netflix or the Cox music channels (classical and jazz especially). I prefer books. I always have. Sometimes I feel guilty about having too many clothes, or liquor bottles, or food in the fridge. I feel like I’ve bought too much, I’ll never get around to using it all.

Not with books. Yes, I have books on the shelf that have sat there for months, even years. I don’t care. I’m taking my time with these books. Sometimes I rearrange them, just for the hell of it. The current system is genre, then by author. I have dozens of classic titles by Penguin and Modern Library. One of the few New Years resolutions I have kept is to read as many classics as I can, for the benefit of my mind.

The classics are arranged by fiction, general nonfiction, history, philosophy, poetry, and religious texts. I have one example of each on my nightstand, and I read from a different book each night. My goal is to eventually read every title on the shelves, author by author (or subject, for I have many compilations).

It is a very private, but rewarding activity. Sometimes I plan my whole evening around it. I set an early bedtime, so I can be showered and between the sheets, with a cup of hot tea beside me, and enjoy an hour or two with my books. My body relaxes, but my mind stays active. All the hassles and gall of the day are pushed aside in favor of something more important to me. It’s better than going to the gym or the club. It’s an experience that will never get old, because every time I do this I learn and feel something new.

And that is why I love books.

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Epigrams

March 17, 2010

March 14, 2007:

Jesse of Auto Glass, you provide me with a service

You have a skill I do not, and yet

Your lack of smarts makes me nervous.

April 20, 2007:

To you in the white Bonneville with license number PSA

Why were you so rude and impatient on the road today?

Thanks for cutting me off, now please go away.

July 2, 2007:

Spending a week in Xanadu again, after a three-year absence

With games and friends and drink

Yes, it’s good to be here, thank you for asking.

Sept. 25, 2007

Talking heads warn of global warming, bird flu, nuclear war,

But people are the problem, so is extinction really going too far?

Yet the sooner the earth removes us, the sooner earth raises the bar.

Oct. 16, 2007

This nation celebrates the stupid and shallow

Scorns the gentlemen, and their ways will not allow

But we’re having a renaissance, with good times to follow!