"...the array of books in our home is intended for ongoing, well-rounded usefulness. They're there to show us what's possible, not venerate what's already been. Even the history books, which are expressly about what has already been, are there to light an inquisitive fuse and point us forward into new exploits."
We keep books around as reminders both of what's been and the unknown to come. It's true that browsing is still one of the best ways of discovery. I'm delighted whenever a friend visits and finds something that intrigues them on one of my shelves, after which I usually insist that they borrow it. While not the bibliophile that I am, I was so tickled that my parents automatically took part in this great pastime on their recent visit, each picking out something that looked good, and then promptly reading themselves to sleep.
Read the whole thing here.