Books

"Man's Search for Meaning," Viktor Frankl, 1946.  Memoir.  A psychiatrist's account of his incarceration in a Nazi prison camp.

“Man’s Search for Meaning,” Viktor Frankl, 1946. Memoir. A psychiatrist’s account of his incarceration in a Nazi prison camp.

On contemplating the value of books, I realized that if worse comes to worst, I can use books to beat thieves over the head, to knock sense into them, to remind them who’s queen of this castle, and that I didn’t get to be queen by being stupid.

Books accept me on my terms. They rest quietly until I am ready for them. They take little space, are solid, reliable, portable. They allow me to write in them, tear pages out, throw them across the room. They hold no grudges, but for those I inflict.

Authors are like friends, who speak from afar but strike a chord with me, such that I follow their words with curiosity and suspense. They pull a response that differs from book to book, author to author, period or culture. I can travel the world with books without leaving home – or even leaving my armchair – experience faraway places across dimensions, in my imagination, see worlds through others’ eyes. Alternatively, I can take books on trips, passing hours in train stations or airports, while sharing the companionship of a book.

No one can console me like a book in times of loneliness or distress. I can lose myself in pleasanter places, surround myself with auras of love and peacefulness unrealized any other way.

 

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