A Paean To The Book

In my castle of books, the tower of pages blows freely in the wind, advertising the fact that they are brimming with pages but are yet to be read.  This saddens me beyond belief.  In a library I could spend my days swallowed in a sea of words, beautifully phrased sentences, emotive paragraphs, and pages of perfection; in short, I could die happy.

Yet whilst my tower grows, a gnawing doubt resides in my bosom  and trickles through my blood.  These things, these objects, are material, paid for with coin and accumulated through time whilst also taking up vast swathes of space.  I jettison one or two here or there, that is true, but can I do this for all?  Even those that I love with a tender thought and a heavy heart?  No, not these, let these stay and reside as they must.  Let them gather dust not on the shelf nor in the soul, but be forever a part of me.

From father to son do Russian classics pass, from charity bookstore to my home to toilet cistern do some books pass, left as a present for a cleaner.  Sometimes left on trains or buses, stored with care.  Where do these books go next?  Do they live well, provide others with such sweet succulence as they have provided me?

A well thumbed travel book, a train journey across from Britain to Japan.  A wonderful guide and misanthropic author, whose very spine is bent by the passage of time spent in my bag.  I shall leave you with a dear friend.  Another, a deep and cohesive attempt at the psychiatric novel, is left behind battered and bruised in an Amsterdam hostel, a message of love scrawled into the front cover page, hoping that the new owner treats it better.  A date, place and time, etched for others to follow.

Books?  No, friends surely, through past and and through present.

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