Reveling in the glory and beauty of everyday life... all the mess and chaos of raising five little girls!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Of Books and Kindles

"Give us a house furnished with books rather than furniture! Both, if you can, but books at any rate! Books are the windows through which the soul looks out. A house without books is like a room without windows. No man has a right to bring up his children without surrounding them with books, if he has the means to buy them. It is a wrong to his family. He cheat them! Children learn to read by being in the presence of books.  The love of knowledge comes with reading and grows upon it! And the love of knowledge, in a young mind, is almost a warrant against the inferior excitement of passions and vices...  Let us pity these poor rich men who live barrenly in great, bookless, houses!  A little library growing larger each year is an honorable part of a young man's history.  It is a man's duty to have books.  A library is not a luxury, but one of the necessities of life."  -Henry Ward Beecher, 1862

I came across this quote yesterday and loved it. I read it to Erik, because it expressed what I have been trying to tell him over the last month as I've tried - without success - to enjoy reading a book on the Kindle I was given for Christmas.  I have to be honest.  The Kindle came from my father-in-law and I think it might have been a joke.  Or, he thought he might be able to bring me over to the dark side of technology.  I'm not sure which.  He has a Nook and a Kindle.  He loves them.  I had told him repeatedly I thought it was a travesty to think of a hand-held device replacing bright shelves of beautiful books.  :)  I love you, Doug and I am thankful for your generosity. But I can't be convinced on this one.

Now, I do get the practicality of it.  In fact, for my brother-in-law somewhere in the Middle East and my sister heading to South Korea, it is probably a great thing!  They can read whatever they want without having access to English bookstores or libraries, and without having to ship home boxes of new books.  Doug just loaded his with Louis L'Amour and Zane Grey for a month long trip into the backcountry.  My sister Amy is always getting free books or borrowing them from the library and she has dozens at her fingertips at one time.  I get it. Sort of. 

I just can't do it.  I can't exchange the smell of ink and paper or the feel of crisp pages turning in my hand.  I can't accumulate files on a device in place of colorful spines on a brimming bookshelf.  Knowledge comes from people, from books, not from computer screens - or at least it should.   I want my kids to devour stacks of real, lovely, sacred writing, not skim through a screen and click a button. 

But, that's just me. :)  Michelle, the Kindle is waiting to be transported to South Korea and loaded with all kinds of history books! :)


  1. I agree with you whole-heartedly! Ryan just got a Kindle Fire, and while looking at it is cool, I would still prefer the feel of the real thing and the happiness a full bookshelf brings. However, given that my full bookshelves will be inaccessible to me the next two years, I happily accept your offer of the Kindle and am excited to fill it with books while I am gone!

  2. I must admit that I was one who believed I would never own an e-reader. I love books; the feel, the ability to mark down pages, the smell, and seeing a library filled with bookshelves sagging under the weight of the books. But I absolutely love the convenience and ease of my kindle and the ability to increase the font size for my now almost 50 year old eyes. I also loved being able to download books from the Colorado public library system while I was in Italy.

  3. Maybe if I had the kind of jet-set life where I was always out and about having marvelous international adventures, I would buy a Kindle (or Kobe in Canada). Until then, I will stick with books, books, and more books please! (We moved boxes and boxes of books last month - we didn't label them because we thought people would think we were crazy bibliophiles... which we are!)