14 July 2014

The Virtue of Unread Books

"...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."

-Scott James

Although we didn't have a terribly sophisticated home library growing up, I can remember countless hours sprawled out on the floor, or in a chair, or on Mom & Dad's bed, paging through whatever 'looked interesting' on the shelves in various corners of our house. I spent a lot of time paging through our illustrated children's dictionary, our large family bible, and the many chapter books left behind by older siblings at college (A Wrinkle in Time, Anne of Green Gables, etc. ). There were also times where I picked up something that turned out to be less than interesting. And we must not forget the old, worn, copies of Fulton Sheen on the end tables that sewed the seed for a life-long reading adventure. Or the subconsciously comforting notion that the presence of Catholic books on marriage exuded-that they lined the head-board shelves in my parents' bedroom sent a clear message that Mom & Dad were focused on being Mom & Dad. (The same thing went for magazines-thankfully our house only subscribed to the 'family-friendly' ones...I now laugh when I think back on how miffed I was that other kids at my Catholic school were totally clueless and grossed out about things like NFP when I had been leafing through old copies of CCL magazine for years. Ha.)                                  

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.

1 comment:

  1. Love this post! Thank you for it reminded me of my childhood in my father's office/library. As I became an adult, my love of books grew to the point that every room in my house including my bathroom has at least 20 books. I love books not only for it's content but the fact they communicate to me(I am hard of hearing/borderline deaf).
    Keep up the good work, God Bless