Isn’t there a bumper sticker out there that says, “So Many Books, So Little Time?” I believe there is, and I think Frank Zappa is credited with saying that one. In my world, you can never have too many books. Here’s where quite a few people I know might raise an eyebrow at me.
Why am I talking about books today? I just moved, re-organized and re-shelved all my books. Well, not all, as there are still some in the basement, and in my darkroom, and in my bedroom, and upstairs in the coffee table. I just moved the ones that had crammed full all of our available shelf space in the “office area.” We just did some re-arranging of the house, and we are going to finally have a real office, one that we can close the door on. You know, walk away from work, close the door, and actually spend the evening relaxing, listening to music, or reading, without my computer and piles of paper staring at me, beckoning me to come back for more.
In the midst of this DIY project, my husband installed another set of bookshelves for me. He’s a smart guy, he knows I won’t stop finding that great score at an estate sale! I found this cool app, too, that lets you scan in (or type in) your books! I am doing this, and at last count, 594. Of course, this number does not include the above-mentioned books stashed in the darkroom, basement, bedroom and upstairs coffee table. Maybe I should stop while I’m ahead.
So, why paper books in an era of Kindles, iPads, eBooks and everything else digital? For me, paper books are more relaxing than staring at a screen, and for so many other reasons too, like all my photo history research and the repeat visits to specific books, and the books I carry in to class for show and tell, and when you just want to look something up real quick. Yes, I know what Google is. After working on the computer much of the day, our eyes get tired of looking at screens, and as for devices, doesn’t anyone get tired of the swipe, scroll, flick and pull?
There is something very tactile and comforting when sitting down with a good book. Turning the pages, and better yet, finding a vintage book and that smell! It’s bound to remind you of someone, or someplace. For me, the olfactory memory is my great-grandmother Dowdy’s home in Savannah.
I do read many, many online articles; especially the ones that declare books in print are dead, or dying. I believe these are the same yahoos that declare film is dead too. Trifling really. These people should find something else to do, maybe, go read a book.
“A room without books is like a body without a soul.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero