anghara (anghara) wrote,

One of my Powells treasures...

OF COURSE we bought books at Powells while we were in Portland. You really thought we went into that place and walked out empty-handed...?

I got some great research books for both the current project in the throes of research, and for a potential future project which might be of interest. One of the latter books was a gorgeous older volume, in quite good shape but obviously an aged book - it looked good, it was on a subject that interested me, and I bought it.

When I came home with it, rdeck, who hadn't really had the opportunity of inspecting my hoard before I packed it away for the homeward journey in the Portland hotel room, turned this thing over in his hands with interest and asked, "When was this published?"

Which was the first time I looked.

And discovered I was holding a book published in 1857.

The oldest book I own is a law book, in Latin, dating back to the early 1700's - probably worth less than it sounds it might be but a treasure for me simply because -well - wow - it was bouncing around this tired old world three centuries ago. The French Revolution hadn't happened yet. The Sun still revolved around the Earth, and scientists were known as "natural philosophers" - Isaac Newton was still almost newly dead. People were still dealing with the fallout from the Great Plague of London. The world was waking up to Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Immanuel Kant. And this book was knocking around the same world, and being read, and being understood (Latin was still a language of learning and knowledge and the gowned academics pored over dusty Latin tomes with hand-drawn illustrations). It gives me a frisson just to hold that book and know that it is a bridge between myself and some reverent hand which has been dust for three hundred years.

I love old books.

This is why I have never warmed to electronic "readers". Three hundred years from now, the Amazon Kindles and their ilk will be so much electronic junk. The books, they endure.
Tags: books, musings, reading, writing

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