Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The need to read

Romance writer Larissa Ione lost all of her books in Hurricane Katrina. This post from Romancing the Blog brought a sympathetic tear to my eye:

As I sat in my ruined house and picked through the mushy remains of my beloved books in order to catalogue them, I recalled when each and every one had been bought and read. I remembered how one of my friends stood in line for hours to get me an autographed copy of Robert Jordan’s Crossroads of Twilight. I remembered how much my stories improved after reading Jack Bickham’s Scene and Structure. I remembered feeling like I could write anything after reading Stephen King’s refreshing book, On Writing. I remembered taking a red pen to my critique partners’ novels long before they came to sit on my bookshelves.

When I was done cataloguing the books, we dragged their soggy, broken-spined corpses to the side of the road for pickup by the county garbage collectors. And that was that. I was bookless.

Larissa goes on to report that friends have given her many books and gift certificates, and she's rebuilding her library:

Books are once again among my most prized possessions, but this time, the word “prized possessions” means so much more. There are things you need, and then there are things you NEED. Books, it seems, are things you NEED. Right up there with family, friends, food, water, and air.

The Quote Lady has a good, long page of quotes about books and reading. You can find this old favorite over there:

When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes. - Desiderius Erasmus


Chris said...

I lost about 2/3rds of my books in a flood about ten years ago. I still know the pain of reaching for something on the shelf and it not being there.

I've recollected many of the books I lost, but there are some I haven't.

Granted, I could get Wilkie Collins' The Moonstone most anywhere, but it wouldn't be the massive large-print, library-bound book I used to have. In that case it's the book even more than the story I miss; a cheapy paperback just wouldn't be the same.

--Chris (dFm)

Bonnie Calhoun said...

I can identify with that. I still have books I purchased when I was in my twenties. I say, "There, but for the grace of God, go I."