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Books. They're Pretty Great.

Let's talk about books.



Last Sunday, I was reading bits of various things I'm in the middle of, and all of a sudden the sole thought that came into my head was "Shit, I love books." If I might quote from The Thirteenth Tale, which is quite enjoyable, if not the best book ever, and you all should read it because it says lovely things like this:

People disappear when they die. Their voice, their laughter, the warmth of their breath. Their flesh. Eventually their bones. All living memory of them ceases. This is both dreadful and natural. Yet for some there is an exception to this annihilation. For in the books they write they continue to exist. We can rediscover them. Their humor, their tone of voice, their moods. Through the written word they can anger you or make you happy. They can comfort you. They can perplex you. They can alter you. All this, even though they are dead. Like flies in amber, like corpses frozen in the ice, that which according to the laws of nature should pass away is, by the miracle of ink on paper, preserved. It is a kind of magic.

Look at that. Hot damn. I'm one of those people who gets all weepy in church when the service says "With believers in every time and place," because then you think back on HUMANITY and how we are LINKED and it is just great. 

Books are astounding, because Jane Austen can sit at her little desk in 1811 and write things down, and they can make teenage girls irate or all swoony in 2016. Jonathan Swift thought up Gulliver over 200 years ago and we're still talking about him. I can debate with someone about whether or not it's important to read Dickens's Barnaby Rudge (it's not), and we can argue the words and thoughts of this man who hasn't walked the earth since 1870, but because he wrote those words and thoughts down, part of his brain and spirit remain.

You can have a pile of books in front of you, and each one will have a different tone and purpose. Because books are so damn variable. And we're never going to be able to read all the ones we want to, but as my Victorian lit professor said in college: it's a much better problem to have too much to read than too little.

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