On my bedside chest I have a large pile of books, in various stages of being read, waiting to be read, or there to be dipped into from time to time.

I would find it difficult to live without books - real books, with paper you can feel. Even though I have a Kindle app on my tablet and read books that way, especially when travelling, nothing can beat the pleasure of handling a beautifully bound volume and anticipating the delights or the interest of its content. Today I am thankful for books.

Going into a library or, more dangerously, a book shop I am like a child in a sweet shop. Or  like the child I once was, taken by the hand into the local public library and encouraged to browse, or pulling out the books on the bookshelves at home and trying to read whatever I found. Never mind that I was 4 and picking out words in a Tolstoy or a Dickens novel. Browsing for books on the internet can be useful but lacks the pleasure of being able to handle and browse the book itself before committing to borrowing or buying it.

Kate Ter Haar who took this photo of a pile of books has added a lovely quotation as a caption:
"Let books be your dining table, And you shall be full of delights. Let them be your mattress, And you shall sleep restful nights."
In the comments below the photo on Flickr, someone has attributed this to St Ephrem the Syrian, but I haven't checked this out. He lived in the 4th century, long before printing, when books were laboriously copied by hand and so even more precious.

I like books for the doors they open to new places, different times, interesting people, new ideas or new light on old ideas. In Alan Bennett's 'The Uncommon Reader' the Queen wanders into a library and explores.
"What she was finding also was how one book led to another, doors kept opening wherever she turned and the days weren't long enough for the reading she wanted to do."
Yes - I know that feeling - and the feeling that my life won't be long enough to read all the books I want to read

Today I am thankful for books.


  1. I so agree, Nancy, as you would expect from a former librarian who doesn't even have a Kindle or an app. :-) Nothing, but nothing, beats a real book.

    1. I wonder how people will define a 'real book'500 years from now? I think one of the pleasures of books is the sense of actually handling the materials that people have worked on to turn the author/illustrator's ideas is something accessible for others. There's the people who made the paper and cardboard, or worked on the leather or leather substitute, made and used the glue or stitched the binding, the people who set up the files for printing (and in old books did the type setting),the people involved in the printing, the distributing, the marketing. Wow - that's a lot of people to produce the Bible sitting here on my desk.


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