A Home Without Books? Impossible

I AGREE WITH THOMAS JEFFERSON when he said, “I can’t imagine a life without books.” My mother read to me and her three other children from the time we were babies. I consider it the greatest gift a mother can give her children. It has made a difference in my life and my love of learning.

MY LOVE AFFAIR WITH BOOKS really began in earnest when I received my first library card as a preschooler. As I looked up at the rows and rows of books in tall bookshelves, I felt a thrill of wonder and adventure that has never really left me when I visit a library or bookstore.

ADVENTURE AND ANIMAL STORIES AND FAIRY TALES fueled my imagination as a child. As a pre-teen, I loved books with strong female characters creating, exploring or solving mysteries like “Nancy Drew” or “Peggy Parker: Girl Inventor” (although Peggy Parker has too much racial stereotyping to recommend it to young girls today). When we wanted to know more about a topic, we consulted our encyclopedias. Today, we consult the internet – a vista on the world.

AS A TEEN, I was introduced to so many new books on classical literature, biographies, history and poetry. IN COLLEGE, the world of science, clinical practice and research appeared in books. I have kept a few books that were important to me in my life’s journey – books that opened new ways of thinking or feeling, promoted understanding myself or the world, or focused my appreciation for nature and humanity. As I chose a career in nursing and then the academic world of teaching, practice and research, books have been companions in my chosen work, and not just for leisure.

I associate a COMFORTABLE HOME WITH THE PRESENCE OF FLOWERS, CANDLES AND BOOKS. Books can be found in several places in our home – bookshelves in the family room, home office, guestroom and a cookbook shelf in the kitchen. Just one or two books can be found here and there, near comfortable and well-lit reading nooks, and on bedside tables. One of my favorite places to read in the Summer is in the rocking chair on the screened porch overlooking the mountains. In winter, I prefer to read in a cushy, jade green, Queen Anne chair near the fireplace in the living room.

I AM PUZZLING OVER an article in a home décor magazine suggesting ways to decorate with books. The author recommended buying books from a flea market that were all of one color, so the bookshelves would look color-coordinated with the room. SHE’S KIDDING, RIGHT? Another idea I heard on a TV segment was to turn all the books backwards in the bookshelf so the white was showing and the colored backs wouldn’t show. GOOD LUCK WITH FINDING A BOOK ON THOSE SHELVES.

OTHER DECORATING IDEAS I have heard include making lamps of books, or tearing the backs off books to frame as a picture. The most astounding idea I read once, in a marketing campaign for a bookseller, was to purchase books that would impress others. As someone who values books for learning and leisure, I can’t envision finding any of these suggestions acceptable.

Two years ago, my son bought a KINDLE for me. I love it.! Mine is in a snazzy red fabric cover that looks like a book (of course!). My KINDLE can store 3,000 books, is convenient for traveling and easy and quick to upload new books (less than one minute). When I am at home, I keep the KINDLE beside my bed to read a few minutes before sleep. Although I am enjoying e-books, I still purchase other books that are in various places in my home. If I am in another room with time to read, I may pick up the book and read for a few minutes. A few of my favorite books I read this year include: “Personal History” by Katherine Graham, “The Physician” by Noah Gordon and “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand.

Booksellers are losing market share and publishers are transforming operations, as we navigate through the transition of how we are to store, access and use information. One thing we can agree on, THE FUTURE WILL LIKELY NOT LOOK LIKE THE PRESENT.

WHAT DO BOOKS MEAN IN YOUR LIFE? WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE FUTURE OF BOOKS AS WE KNOW THEM?

Sue Marquis Bishop 2013

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2 thoughts on “A Home Without Books? Impossible”

    1. I agree! The Kindle lets us take favorite books and books in progress with us on our travels…Thanks for commenting on this newly launched blog. I look forward to following your blog.

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