I usually hate libraries (a) because there are too many books. Books are for reading, but libraries look as though they are meant for reading to oblivion, sifting through nearly endless redundancy to find perhaps two truly good and relevant books on a given row of shelves. They testify to the slaughter of trees, the wasted lives of mediocre authors, and the dwindling value even of the works of very talented authors, as they become outdated, and it makes me depressed . . . (b) because there is no food in them.
Floor after floor, packed with the mutilated corpses of trees! Libraries are worse than graveyards. As gloomy as graveyards can be, at least the corpses are lain discreetly out of sight, allowed to decompose, and get on their way to becoming new, visible life–shrubs, flowers, grass! There is hope in a graveyard, fresh air and an open sky.
But then one hits a vein, and there are two, three, four interesting books on a single shelf–books one can justify taking time to read–in fact a whole conversation that has unfolded over centuries among these who are now corpses (of humans, trees, a careful mixture of both), who once read each others’ books. There they patiently wait to pick up the conversation, wait for the topic to come back around to theirs.
Voices from the dust, and my fellow beings whom, when I have time to read them, rather than hurrying on to some more “responsible” purpose, I come to love.