The books themselves

Drew at Shakespeare and Company bookstore, Paris 2005

Drew at Shakespeare and Company bookstore, Paris 2005

“I cannot remember a time when I was not in love with them–with the books themselves, cover and binding and the paper they were printed on, with their smell and their weight and with their possession in my arms, captured and carried off to myself.” Eudora Welty

I can think of few sorrows for which I cannot find solace in books.  Through the words recorded by others, I am connected with people who amuse, instruct or understand; transported to places that fascinate, captivate or terrify; carried beyond the confines of my own circumstances into a realm of unbridled ideas, possibilites and imagination.  Reading changes lives.


  1. Upon reading this post I, along with all bibliophiles, smile quietly.

    • Thanks Eric! This post is a sort of tribute to the many people close to me – as well as those I don’t yet know — who are my neighbors in the vast kingdom of book lovers. Contrary to what you may hear in the popular press, we are NOT in danger of disappearance!

      • Conventional wisdom of the day is “if you can’t tweet it (limit it to 160 characters), nobody will read it.

        • In that case, I quote Emily Dickinson: “I’m nobody! Who are you? Are you nobody, too?”

          • Centerville, TN native, Jerrie Barber Tweeted on this date: “Good books are one of the few things you can buy that will make you richer immediately.”

            • That’s a good one!

  2. Welty’s quote describes exactly why I will ALWAYS prefer printed copy over electronic when it comes to reading for pleasure. I am so glad that you, Eric, and I share Dad’s love of books and reading! Is it in the genes?

    • Carla, I think it’s partly in the genes, but partly something one acquires. When I was in graduate school to become a librarian, I did a good bit of research about early acquisition of reading skills. One of the most important factors appears to be “immersion into a print environment” which is a fancy way of saying that kids who grow up in houses that have lots of reading material — books and magazines everywhere — are much more likely to become readers, especially if they see their parents reading. Although Dad first comes to mind in this respect, I do remember Mom reading in bed almost every night before she went to sleep. Anyway, the immersion factor is one reason why the work you do with the Imagination project is so important in helping students become good readers.

      • Amen to Julia’s comment to Carla. I know these people well.

  3. Carlyle


    I share with you the wonder and adventure of books and often find myself puzzled by those who, for what ever reason, do not avail themselves of this time-spanning treasure. I early on realized that my father, Your grandfather, who never finished school, never the less became highly educated through his reading.

    • Daddy, I think your father was a fascinating guy, and not just because of his Chiricahua heritage, navy history and theater career. As a young child I was amazed at his beautiful handwriting on some letters of his you had saved, and I wished I could remember him. I think your Aunt Henrietta was also a book lover; I still have her copy of Pride and Prejudice (my favorite novel) which is in great shape despite being nearly 70 years old! Reading is definitely in our genes, as Carla mentioned.

      • Rene

        P&P is my favorite novel also, with her PERSUASION a close second. I start out every year by reading a Jane Austen novel.

        • I think Persuasion may be the only Austen novel I’ve never read; at least I have no memory of reading it. P&P is far and away my favorite, but Emma would probably be my second favorite. I just love Mr. Knightley. I’ll have to move Persuasion up to the top of my “to be read” list. I could use a good Jane Austen novel right now.

  4. “The man who does not read books has no advantage over the man who cannot read”. Mark Twain. I love to read. It soothes my soul and very often I learn something. I also have a swiss cheese memory so I enjoy books at every reading because there is so much I have forgotten. READ, READ, READ!!! Thanks for sharing, looks like a wonderful book store Drew is in.

    • Amy, it is quite a wonderful store; on the left bank, and full of nooks and crannies to explore. I think sort of a sister bookstore to City Lights in San Francisco. I love it that you love to read. I think you have as many books in your home as we do in ours.


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