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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,josepp Why we love Books on Paper in Libraries (35) RE: Why we love Books on Paper in Libraries 02 Jun 12


I would accept a digital book if it's one I cannot procure in standard form. Otherwise I prefer the printed word on paper. The joy of the old books I own is thumbing through them. Instead of wondering, "Yick, I wonder who else has touched this" I am fascinated by wondering what hands this book passed through until it finally got to me. I have books from the 16th century. I know guys who have them from the 15th century. I once saw a book with the binding made of human bone, the covers of human skin and the bookmark ribbon was a braid of a prostitute's hair. I've seen books where you bend the open side of the pages and there is a handpainting and if you flip the book over and tilt bend the pages the opposite way, there's a different painting.

In the documentary "Louis Bluie" he shows another bandmember his hand-drawn porno book. Louie was a great artist and calligrapher. I wonder what happened to that book after his death.

I read another guy's account of buying a collection of some author's books and papers at an auction and upon going through it, came across Gerald Gardner's original "Book of Shadows." Gardner founded Wicca and this book was supposed to be some witch thing handed down through the ages. Gardner actually wrote it. He took an old cover and binding from a 19th century book on knives and removed the pages and inserted his own written in his beautiful calligraphy. You would have thought some Wiccnas would have bought it up and taken charge of it. Instead, this guy (who isn't Wiccan) owns it--at least the last I heard.

I have found old flowers, letters, wedding invitations and all kinds of things in old books. One of my prizes is an 1816 clergyman's bible. He wrote all kinds of notes in the margins and stuffed old newspaper clippings regarding floods, pestilences, wars and the latest scientific finds regarding the brain inside the pages. Most of these date from the Civil War. Every devout Christian I have ever showed it to offers to buy it but I won't sell it.

Old books are works of art. Digital can't replace that. I remember going to the rare book room at the Detroit Public Library and reading old alchemical treatises in Latin. You had to wear rubber gloves to turn the pages. I remember going to a library book sale and buying three large books on jazz, Freemasonry and mythology for a whopping $9. The Freemason book was a bible from the 40s. It had been signed by various masons. It was in pristine condition and only $3. When I was in a bookstore that sold rare and old books, I saw another bible exactly like the one I bought except it was tattered and falling apart. They wanted $40 for it.

It's a shame so many libraries are closing their doors and selling off a treasure trove of books at ridiculously cheap prices. It's even more disturbing to read posts from Mudcatter saying "I love my Kindle Fire and wouldn't trade it for all the books in the world." This from people who are supposed to be keeping traditions alive. Instead they watch Idol, think Justin Bieber is equal to Tommy Dorsey and that rap is legitimate music. It makes me realize what a losing battle I'm waging. I guess I should take the advice of others here and bury my head in the sand and cut myself off from the rest of the world and pretend everything and quit griping and pretend everything is fine. A losing battle.


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