My daughter asked me the other day if I’ve read all of the books on our bookshelf. I’ve read most of them. Some of them I’ve read several times.
I’ve always been surrounded by books – at home, at school, in the library. I can’t begin to recount the number of hours I’ve spent in libraries – public, school, academic, historic. Going to the library has always been one of my favorite pastimes. I remember when I was little and my dad would take me to the library about every two weeks. I enjoyed free reign of the stacks while he sat and waited. I’d check out books by the dozen, and at first he would ask if I could really read all of those books. But later he stopped asking because he already knew the answer.
Now my husband takes our kids to the library every few weeks, and the kids come home with books by the dozen.
And when they weary of the books they have checked out, they turn to their personal bookshelves for familiar favorites or new acquisitions. Every now and then I sneak in a surprise book. Actually, it’s been a while since I’ve done so, but I will remedy that. I like to read my old books over again and again, but sometimes when I reach into my bookshelves, I’m looking for something new. Why should I expect anything different of my children?
So here we are, with stacks of books, which to me have always seemed a necessity. I can’t imagine a life without books within arm’s reach.
But that is the reality for many people who cannot or do not read – not by choice but rather by circumstance. For them, a shelf full of books is something to hear about in a story or see in a movie, such as “Gifted Hands – The Benjamin Carson Story,” which documents the life of Dr. Ben Carson, a ground-breaking neurosurgeon.
For far too many people, a shelf full of books, whether physical or virtual, is a luxury. And that has got to change.