There is a well-defined comfort for those who visit book stores and libraries. The books are there like faithful friends waiting to be called upon, read, valued, and appreciated. Let us not also forget, however, the joy and anticipation when visiting used book stores. They are everywhere, and they all tell a story; but not only from within the pages. They have a history; they came from somewhere; they are going somewhere.
If everyone who ever had possession of any given book had written their name, the city or town in which they obtained the book, the purchase price, and the date thereof, consider what an incredible account would exist about the adventures of just one book. To realize that a book may have traveled through numerous hands and a century of time is a fascinating and exciting concept. Just imagine the many lives it may have touched. With the pages perhaps yellowed, thick and dusty, or thin and delicate, the word is still alive and just as profound and beautiful as it was when it was created so long ago.
Whether fictional or nonfictional, there can be derived a value, relevancy, and importance to the book. For example, consider a book written in 1918 on the history of Poland. Much could be learned about the country and the author’s perspective. But also consider what the author could not have known about the country’s future at the time of writing. It is a study in itself. It not only gives a story of Poland but an idea of how much things have changed since the book’s publication.
Nothing can or should replace the book; not the internet or any other popular electronic devices. Consider the rudimentary and necessary efforts involved in the editing and critiquing of a book before it goes into print. Can the same be said for the deluge of information available on the World Wide Web on any given topic? Is the information being scrutinized to assure accuracy or grammatical correctness? Is too much being placed on the web that will only create more confusion and misinformation on any given topic?
Appreciate the physical aspects. Turning the page of a book does less damage to the wrist than dragging and clicking. If a book is read through an electronic device, there is the memory of it, but not a physical reminder. For example, there is no book to place on a shelf, nothing to return to the library, or no book to pass on to a used book store. There is an undeniable feel to a book, to its texture, to an interesting cover and enticing title that invites the reader to open it.
There is a sense of accomplishment as the reader makes his or her way, page after page and chapter after chapter. And at book’s end the reader will recall the intrigue, joy, and passion for beloved characters, their story, and a conclusion that may hone the reflective nature and spur the reader to seek more of the same. Books are as important now as they were during the dark ages when all stories of experiences and places would have been lost had it not been for the dedicated and devoted people who penned them onto parchment or labored over a manual typewriter.