I recently came across an article in Brain Pickings about books. In the words of Herman Hesse “Among the many worlds that man did not receive as a gift from nature but created out of his own mind, the world of books is the greatest… Without the word, without the writing of books, there is no history, there is no concept of humanity. And if anyone wants to try to enclose in a small space, in a single house or a single room, the history of the human spirit and to make it his own, he can only do this in the form of a collection of books.”
I have always loved books. I was pretty isolated as a child so books were my world. I grew up, life got busy with work, children, and responsibilities so I didn’t have as much time to read. Then I discovered audio books and all that changed. I spent a lot of time in my car as a visiting nurse so this was a wonderful opportunity to listen to books. I could also listen while working around the house and yard. My audio book habit has continued here in Panama.
Technology is a wonderful thing. Between audio books and eBooks, a whole world of books is available and they don’t take up any space or weigh a thing. The internet allows you to access all these books from anywhere you have a connection, and save them to whatever device you prefer.
The article referenced above raised the question of the continuing success of books. Would they be pushed aside by radio and movies, and now in these times, the internet? He says no, no more than photography has hurt painting. “We need not fear a future elimination of the book. On the contrary, the more that certain needs for entertainment and education are satisfied through other inventions, the more the book will win back in dignity and authority. For even the most childish intoxication with progress will soon be forced to recognize that writing and books have a function that is eternal. It will become evident that formulation in words and the handing on of these formulations through writing are not only important aids but actually the only means by which humanity can have a history and a continuing consciousness of itself.”
For me though, the internet has definitely become another source of things to read, like the Brain Pickings that lands in my mailbox every weekend. I also have pocket, an app that lets you save articles to read off line. The pocket folks send me many emails with links to interesting articles, and there is also Stumble Upon who sends me more articles, and all those articles have links to still others. You could spend your entire life reading interesting stuff on line! But, I digress… this post is about books.
When you think about it, books are really an amazing gift. You can read the thoughts and ideas of people long dead, or the writings of the latest best selling author. There are books for entertainment, for learning, for understanding our world and the people in it. There are books on probably any subject you can imagine. All those people, all that wisdom and experience, all those books carefully written by countless people, they are all just waiting for you to read them.
For me, if I could no longer enjoy books, some of the color would go out of my world. My favorite thing these days is to put on an audio book and go weed the yard. I may look like I’m working hard, but I’m actually having a great time. A good book, the outdoors, the birds, the plants, the yard looking better, it just doesn’t get any better than that. Oh, and the bugs, can’t forget the bugs 😀