Yes, oh yes! We write books. But do we really care about them, ours and other people’s?
Do we open them, treasure the smoothness of the paper, read a word or two?
Or do we leave them on the shelf never to be really appreciated?
In that case, those books should be in someone else’s hands.
As Sir Winston Churchill said in his book Painting as a Pastime:
“If you cannot read all your books, at any rate handle, or as it were, fondle them – peer into them, let them fall open where they will, read from the first sentence that arrests the eye, set them back on the shelves with your own hands, arrange them on your own plan so that if you do not know what is in them, you at least know where they are. Let them be your friends; let them at any rate be your acquaintances. If they cannot enter the circle of your life, do not deny them at least a nod of recognition.”
This quote drew me to my own bookshelves, laden with every genre. Have I read them all? Unfortunately not.
There are, of course, the books I must read because I am judging some contest or other. Why do I keep them, never to be opened again?
A very few others remain on my shelves to be read and read and read again.
Others will never be cracked open. They linger in a home that cares not enough to bring their words to light. A more sympathetic owner would pass them to someone who cared enough to do so.
“Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with it is a toy then an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, and then it becomes a master, and then it becomes a tyrant and, in the last stage, just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public.” (Sir Winston Churchill)
Churchill speaks of books as though they were living things, and, of course, they are. Someone’s sweat, tears, and frustration lie on every page.
We write books and so we know this to be true about our own scribbles. Why should we think another author struggles any less?
How then can we neglect so great a book when the writer’s heart lies on every page.
Explore your personal library and be ruthlessly kind to what you find there.