Sunday, August 29, 2010

Books - A Precious Relationship

My mom taught me that it's practically a sin to throw a book away. Someone's words and someone's story is never trash. More importantly, throwing away a piece of literature is keeping someone else from enjoying and learning from it. Just today, I let a friend borrow one of my favorite books (The Stand). I felt slightly embarrassed by the fact that the book (one I've read so many times) no longer had a cover - then, I became proud that the book was used and enjoyed so thoroughly and thrilled that someone else was going to be (hopefully) touched by the words inside. That book has traveled across country with me, from home to home, and gotten me through lonely times (as sad as that may sound).

Then, tonight, I did some packing for our September move, and I got to the part I always dread - boxing up books. It's an easy process, but one of the things I love most about our apartment is the plethora of wonderful books we display. When I look at each, I remember what it taught me and how I felt when I read it for the first time. I packed away my favorites from childhood to adulthood, some that changed who I was fundamentally by the very power of the words inside. Then, I got to one that really fostered my love of horror fiction (The Gunslinger) and was horrified to find that our pug had ruined it. When I held the destroyed book in my hands, I remembered how it made me feel to turn each page, how I'd stayed up all night reading, and couldn't wait to move to the next book in series. I recited lines in my mind that I feel are so beautiful and powerful that anyone who reads them is lucky. I felt again the intense yearning to write something so deserving of readers. And, when I realized that the book would have to find it's resting place in the trash can, tears filled my eyes. Pathetic? Maybe.

For me, books are a vacation, a learning experience... but most importantly, they're friends. I form a unique relationship with each book I read and when we (the book and I) reach the end of our journey together, I'm forever different. My relationship with books is special and deep inside of me. My love for them is a truth that makes me who I am.

My mom was right to teach me to never throw a book in the trash, and I hope I don't have to do it again soon.

"I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves."


  1. I agree!

    The other day I came home and Brody had torn his "Puppy Training Manual" book into a thousand tiny pieces. That is his second book to tear up (the other was a "Teaching your Puppy Not to Chew" book--ohhhh the irony was rich there). I have yet to find any of my personal books ripped up, I think Brody is very selective in his lit choices (to show his distaste).

    AND...packing books sucks. I found that most of my boxes were books (and those were the heaviest).

    I love reading your blog! :)

  2. I feel attached to my books too - that's why I had such a hard time accepting the E-books. (I hated them until I got one and started using it!) It's good to know stories never leave us, even if their material qualities are chewed to bits!
    PS: It's not pathetic to cry over throwing a book away or trading in a car.
    PSS: I'm excited for your scrapbook!

  3. Sandy, that's so funny about Brody. Thanks for reading! Glad you enjoy it.

    Lauren, Thank you! I feel like you always get me. I'm still having trouble accepting e-books. I know that will change with time. I hope the scrapbook is good! I haven't started but I'm collecting.