I love books.
I love to smell them, look at them, display them, think about them, and yes, read them. There are not many things that I like more than being able to spend an entire day devouring a book. Sometimes I love my school books, though not very often. I frequently love memoirs. I am a fan of short-stories and anthologies. I often enjoy poetry. But above all, I love fiction. Glorious, glorious stories.
Books are useful too. Some books are beautiful, and make good art pieces. Sometimes books can be used to prop up a wobbly table or chair, or, as I remember doing when I was young, righting a crooked Christmas tree. They make excellent presents. They are good for losing oneself, escaping a boring and disappointing day. And sometimes, they teach good lessons.
For instance, if one was considering one's outrageously high cholesterol, one could take solace in the words of Little Ozzie, the terrificly obese writer in the book Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz "With a dismissive wave of one of his formidable arms, Little Ozzie said, 'If you carried my bulk, your blood rich with cholesterol molecules the size of miniature marshmallows, you'd understand that a little righteous outrage from time to time is the only thing that keeps your arteries from clogging shut all together. Righteous outrage and fine red wine."
Or, if one was trying to determine whether someone else was an angel or not, one could answer these wise questions, supplied graciously from the Roman Church via Gabriel Garcia Marquez's A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings. "They spent their time finding out if the prisoner had a navel, if his dialect had any connection with Aramaic, how many times he could fit on the head of a pin, or whether he wasn't just a Norwegian with wings."
Wise questions, for sure.
And finally, when one is weighing the merits of brushing one's teeth before going to bed, one might read these words, from Greg Iles' Blood Memory, when speaking of trying to find a suspect who owns dentures. "Would he necessarily have to be old?" "God no, Lots of people have teeth so bad they rot out by their thirties."
I would hate to be that kind of person.
Currently I am reading a book called Wasted, a memoir about anorexia and bulimia, Edith Wharton's Ethan Frome, and getting ready to move onto Toni Morrison's Love. I wonder what sort of life knowledge I will gain next.