I’ve mentioned before the historic Carnegie library in my hometown, and how my habit of collecting old books might have begun as an unconscious effort to recreate its cherished atmosphere here at home. That effort is hardly unconscious now. If only I had room for the hardwood study tables and chairs, where silence was observed and pages were turned in that distant ship anchored amongst sycamores in our old city park.
My love for these old volumes, of course, is more complex. Books are sacred to me, as much as objects as for the wisdom, folly, and joy they contain.
The stately hardcovers, gilded, deckled, and sound as bricks, declare and define their presence as effectively as any child — for they are children, of those who conceived them, and ultimately of us all.
So have patience, if you will, with this old lover of books — this man who still does not have, or even know how to operate, a “mobile device.” I’m more at home in this ship with a book, adrift on imagined oceans.