SOME OF THE BEST
16 June, 1998
Photograph by Bob Gentry 8/5/99
A Thought for Today
There are no shortcuts to the destination, only false roads that waste your time.
"Dear Rod, Will you please reprint the Flight Plan where you spoke of your love for books?" Betty Ann.
Dear Betty Ann, Done. Thanks, Rod
I love books. The look. The smell, the feel of books; the paper and the binding of as much importance as the boards that hold them. The word inside them is a plus. Poetry, philosophy, medicine, archaeology, romances, political tracts, biographies of the gifted and the ordinary. The Bible and the Oz books. The Republic, The Riders of the Purple Sage, Leaves of Grass and Gravity's Rainbow. Chap Books and encyclopedias. The Four Horsemen, The Seven Deadly Sins, The Tale of One Thousand and One Nights, Five Thousand Things to Do on A Rainy Day. How To, Haiku, empty books with fine blank paper in them. (I buy such books but always find them too perfect to be written in.)
When I had little education and the prospect of the classroom on a regular basis eluded me, I haunted libraries. I could, right now, walk into the library of most Western American cities and go directly to the Science and the - small in those days - science-fiction section, find the reference shelves in darkness, go right to Geography and Architecture books. The former on the low shelves, the latter easier to reach. Of course I'm assuming that libraries haven't changed much in thirty years or so. Few do because learning has been kicked far down the ladder of priorities. I'm not completely sure of who's responsible for the loss of libraries and with it a general lack of literacy. Certainly not teachers.
-Excerpted from a speech given to The American Booksellers Association - first published 6/16/98.
16 states have primary elections today. Don't forget to exercise your right to vote. If you live in California, please strike a blow against bigotry and vote NO on Proposition 22. See you tomorrow when our loveable webmaster Ken presents his weekly This One Does It For Me feature. Sleep warm.
- RM 3/7/2000