Overwhelmed with Joy and Craving
By Liesl Garner on November 17, 2012
Yesterday I held fresh books in my hands. Fresh, meaning, not dust covered, or tried and true. Hot off the press, right there on the shelf at the book store, and now in my hand. No children running amok in the store. I could actually focus all my attention on the books all around me.
Well, that's an overstatement. I couldn't focus. I was almost spinning in wonder and overload. Everywhere there was something delightful. The book cover art was luring me this way and that way. My hands reached out to feel the spines, to connect.
There is a new book out by Dave Eggers, that I almost bought, just because the cover felt so good in my hands. It is stitched and embossed, and feels ancient and rich. Great things will be inside this book, I am sure. I would probably be distracted just holding it.
The book that I had plans to purchase, Help Thanks Wow: The Three Essential Prayers, was sold out. I have my name on a waiting list. Thank you, Anne Lamott for being so brilliant and beautiful and real and true - that your books get snatched up the moment they arrive at my bookstore.
I have wanted a Kindle or a Nook for a long time, because I am always trying to simultaneously read about 12 books at a time. Unsuccessfully, of course. I don't complete many of them. I dabble. I graze. I take little bite-fulls at a time, and am mesmerized by the poetry of the way a sentence is put together. Literally, I can be swept away by one good sentence, that packs a punch, and makes me laugh or cry, or both, preferably. I am that overcome by words.
Scott understands that a reading device that could hold 3000 books at once, would make reading more convenient, "But at what cost," he asked me once. He went on to describe the way I am with a new book, how I'll bury my head in the middle to smell the pages. I still do that. There is something about the first whiff of a new book, that is heady and mystical to me. The roar of the print shop, the smell of the book! He talked about how I love the weight of a book, how I like to turn it over and over in my hands, like a gift, like a new toy, imagining all the fun I will have with it.
There are so many tactile pleasures to reading an actual book, that I don't think I could give that up for the convenience of a Nook. I am an old-school lover of the written word, and it turns out, not just the words themselves, but the whole experience.
I was there for a new book-light for Ben. His is getting too dim. That is what I bought. I was proud of myself for not going overboard and buying a bunch of books. Truth is, I wouldn't have been able to make a choice. I was overwhelmed with joy and craving. But I think a trip to the Library is in order in the near future!
photo of statue from here