With apologies to Oliver! lyricist, Lionel Bart, (and second only to food as to pleasures in life for those of us who aren't married) . . .
Books are among the most marvelous things on earth. If they are new, you can smell the volatile chemicals used in their making. You get to hear that crack in the spine the first time they are opened. If they are used, you can see the love in their usedness, the smells and stains, the little corner turns and pencil marks. You can feel the weight of them in your hands, judge the size and thickness (some are more pleasant to hold and read than others). You can leave your own pencil marks and tea stains, turned down corners and bookmarks.
Cicero said, "A room without books is as a body without a soul." Erasmus said, "When I get a little money, I buy books. If any is left, I buy food and clothes." Charles de Monesqiue never knew, "any trouble that an hour's reading didn't assuage." And Oscar Wilde so rightly observed that, "It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it. "
Mr. Guttenberg gave us one of the greatest gifts man can give. For which we Christians, sometimes known as "people of the book" are extraordinarily grateful. For two celebrations of books and reading, please go visit these two blog posts:
What are your bookends? , by Joe Carter at FirstThoughts blog
Sally Thomas's contribution , which is lovely and deserves a place of its own.