“A room without books is like a body without a soul”
~Marcus Tullius Cicero
I finished the book I was reading a few days ago, Ken Follet’s ‘Fall of Giants’, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I also really liked his ‘The Pillars of the Earth’ and ‘World Without End’. ‘Fall of Giants’ was a great read, as I love to read about history and Follet seems to follow the facts pretty closely. During the time I was reading the book I was watching ‘Downton Abbey’ on Masterpiece Classic, which takes place during the same period and involves some of the same situations, making the time before World War I come alive for me. Between the book and the show I immersed myself in the past. As with all good books, it was a let-down when I came to the end.
My mother was an avid reader and as soon as I learned to read she got me started on the classics. I thought I had died and gone to heaven reading ‘Wuthering Heights’ and ‘Jane Eyer’. I have had a book by my side ever since. I usually have a stack of books on reserve, but for once I am caught up. Unlike all my reading friends, I have not made the switch to an E-Reader because I like the feel of the book, and am slow to accept change. Now that I have nothing to read, I see the value of electronic reading.
I was going to wait to find a new book until next week when my book club meets, and I learn what our new selection will be, but I am lost without a book. When I came across Cicero’s quote, I completely related to it. I don’t know if I can wait five days to start a new book. My birthday is coming up, I guess I will go ahead and ask for an E-Reader. In the meantime I will be going to the bookstore for something to fill the void.
As we move into the electronic age, I wonder if we will lose our libraries and bookstores. Will our homes be barren of bookcases and bookshelves? Will they become, as Cicero wrote, without a soul? I think I will start holding on to favorite books, and maybe even start collecting them. Once I join the electronic reading world, I will still always want to have books around me. Books are part of who I am.