The Books

books

Once upon a time there were books. Hard angled, sharp cornered rectangles with slivers in between. Slippery inked characters ran the page black and white. No color was necessary for pictures made of letters.

The books were complicated. Happy, but conflicted. Arrogant with the self aggrandizement that can only come from small sizes, the books had something to say.

“The History of Mankind”. Medical journals devoted to all aspects of the chest. The hunger of a whale.

“Don’t forget,” they all seemed to say. “I’m still here.”

Books went into shelves and then several cases. Crammed together with no structure, The Most Beautiful Woman in Town sat next to Lonesome Dove, stale Atlantic covers and Allure magazine. Too many words clanged against one another.

“This is too dusty a life these days,” McCall could be heard complaining.

“Have you tried page whitener?” Beauty magazines were shoved to the back.

The direction was unclear. There were words of self help. “Don’t think: Just Do.” mixed with fairy tale warnings, “always listen to your mother-in-law.”

When the book cases were full, they were kept in kitchen cabinets. Out went the dishware. Out went the pans. Words stayed in cramped spaces and roll-out drawers for silver.

When the kitchen was taken over, books piled under the bed. The sneaky books took to hiding. Narcotics Anonymous. How To Be Single. Ipod for Dummies. Quieter, but ever present, there they stayed. All the books. Softly chattering throughout an apartment worth of sentences.

Once upon a time there was not enough space. With every story came inches lost. Ingested into the head, they moved from the physical sphere to the mental and when it was time to go, they came with. Boxes of characters in square structured places. All books find a home.

10 thoughts on “The Books

  1. So much intellectual history is just being thrown out because no one will bother to scan and save scholarly books – admittedly a slow manual process. A few are being saved but most will be irrecoverably lost. With very few exceptions, university libraries don’t want donations of old scholarly books. Public libraries often don’t want anything ‘deep’ or serious, at all – if it doesn’t circulate, it won’t get shelf space. Thrillers and political intrigue? Bring ’em on !

    • Yeah, I feel like the world lost so much before the advent of digitization and archiving technologies. But we certainly hope we stem the loss, and eventually eliminate all loss of literature. When I was growing up in Nigeria, books were worth almost more than gold. For better or worse, books and reading helped shape the person I am today.

  2. COVID-19. National elections. Wildfires. Riots. Now, we must relocate to be nearer family. ‘All’ our precious books jumped into boxes for a sad and end-foreboding trip to Goodwill; second hand bookstores are no more; neighbors, friends and family do not read; price of passage for the number of books was prohibitive. Secretly, I placed some old classics, a few diversionary novels from favored writers and a few I knew my wife hated to part with into large and nondescript boxes; placed the boxes with cartons of clothes, family history artifacts, and legal records. They will travel, willing or not. One snowy evening we will discover those boxes in ourt new home and rejoice.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s