The rest, with very little exaggeration, was books. Meant-to-be-picked-up books. Permanently-left-behind books. Uncertain-what-to-do-with books. But books, books. Tall cases lined three walls of the room, filled to and beyond capacity. The overflow had been piled in stacks on the floor. There was little space left for walking, and none whatever for pacing.
Electronic books are ideal for people who value the information contained in them, or who have vision problems, or who like to read on the subway, or who do not want other people to see how they are amusing themselves, or who have storage and clutter issues, but they are useless for people who are engaged in an intense, lifelong love affair with books. Books that we can touch; books that we can smell; books that we can depend on.
When I first learned about Abrams and saw the types of books they were making, I knew I wanted my books to be published by them. Abrams books are special-when you hold one in your hands, you have the feeling that this book needed to be made. I once heard an artist say that books are fetish objects-I think Abrams gets that, because their books demand to be treasured. So who better to give comics art its proper due? I feel privileged to have found a home with Abrams.
Books, books, books in all their aspects, in form and spirit, their physical selves and what reading releases from their hieroglyphic pages, in their sight and smell, in their touch and feel to the questing hand, and in the intellectual music which they sing to the thoughtful brain and loving heart, books are to me the best of all symbols, the realest of all reality.
A man's bookcase will tell you everything you'll ever need to know about him," my father had told me more than once. "A businessman has business books and a dream has novels and books of poetry. Most women like reading about love, and a true revolutionary will have books about the minutiae of overthrowing the oppressor. A person with no books is inconsequential in a modern setting, but a peasant that reads is a prince in waiting.
Books are everywhere; and always the same sense of adventure fills us. Second-hand books are wild books, homeless books; they have come together in vast flocks of variegated feather, and have a charm which the domesticated volumes of the library lack. Besides, in this random miscellaneous company we may rub against some complete stranger who will, with luck, turn into the best friend we have in the world.
Books may not change our suffering, books may not protect us from evil, books may not tell us what is good or what is beautiful, and they will certainly not shield us from the common fate of the grave. But books grant us myriad possibilities: the possibility of change, the possibility of illumination.
I feel, holding books, accommodating their weight and breathing their dust, an abiding love. I trust them, in a way that I can't trust my computer, though I couldn't do without it. Books are matter. My books matter. What would I have done through these years without the library and all its lovely books?
...Generally people don't recomend this type of book at all. It is far too interesting. Perhaps you have had other books recomended to you. Perhaps, even, you have been given books by friends, parents, teachers, then told that these books are the type you have to read. Those books are invariably described as "important"- which in my experience, pretty much means that they're boring. (words like meaningful and thoughtful are other good clues.)
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