Portable Magic: Thus, It Begins

I got a text from my daughter yesterday. It said, very simply, “Samuel is trying to catch up to grandpa.” That was a reference to the beginnings of his book collection after they shelved everything received at the baby shower on Saturday. Check it out:

SamJam is way ahead of where I was two months before delivery. Still, he has some ground to make up. When I add my hard copy books to the items I have in my Logos library and on my Kindle, the grand total is around 14,000 volumes. Depending on his vocation and interests, he may inherit quite a few of them!

Why I’m excited for him:

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.” 
― Stephen King 

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies….The man who never reads lives only one.” 
― George R. R. Martin 

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” 
― C. S. Lewis

“We read to know we’re not alone.” 
― William Nicholson

“Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.” 
― Lemony Snicket

“If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” 
― Oscar Wilde

“Some books should be tasted, some devoured, but only a few should be chewed and digested thoroughly.” 
― Sir Francis Bacon

And remember, dear one:

“Life is God’s novel. Let him write it.” 
― Isaac Bashevis Singer

“Love at first sight.” A thank you note and gift from SamJam for organizing the baby shower.

25 of the Most Majestic Libraries in the World

“I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.”
– Jorge Luis Borges

The seminary where I teach just converted its entire library to a digital access collection. That’s a wise move for us since so many of our students these days are from out of town, out of state, or even out of the country. Online education has made such diversity possible. Still, I miss the tactile nature of real books, so there’s something to lament here as well as to celebrate.

And what of the real structures that house the real books? Virtual shelves lack a certain je ne sais quoi, do they not? While they’re losing ground to the modern e-book and audio book industries, libraries once were the central hubs of human intellectual progress and achievement. Indeed, there’s something about them that still attracts people today.

Whether it’s their magnificent architecture, the distinct smell of old books, or the charm of intimate spaces that no other kind of building can command, scholars and dreamers alike still enjoy scanning the best of our literary heritage inside traditional libraries.

Because of their cultural importance, libraries often were built to be beautiful and to last. The folks over at boredpanda.com have assembled an impressive gallery for your viewing pleasure. You can check it out here.

Not too long ago I visited the George Peabody Library in Baltimore, Maryland. The atmosphere was mesmerizing, but I inadvertently broke a rule while on site. I started perusing a rather old francophone book on the French Revolution, only to discover several chapters later that it was part of the not-to-be-touched collection. Thankfully, I avoided the guillotine. 

In the end, pixels, I suppose, have a longer shelf life than paper, so book fragility may become a thing of the past. That’s an upside to the digital age. Moreover I have a Kindle, and I like it, so I’m quite comfortable in this new world. The only snafu comes when I lick my finger to turn the page. Apparently my screen is averse to human saliva.

Image Credits: boredpanda.com.