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A World Without Books


A world without books … would be like living in black and white.

How many of you remember black and white televisions? Okay, you’re probably not as old as I am. So, how many of you have watched a vintage film, such as that Christmas classic: It’s a Wonderful Life? It’s an amazing film, and the grimy black and white film perfectly captures the harrowing desperation of the Depression Era. Can you imagine what it would look like in color?

How about another classic film: The Wizard of Oz. The majority of the film is presented in black and white, until we reach that climatic moment when the they are in the City of Oz and the film bursts into vibrant color and the entire film seems to explode with vitality.

In my mind, that is the perfect before and after of a world with and without books.

In fact, reading the original series of books that comprised The Wizard of Oz, is one of my favorite childhood memories. It was the first time in my life that I experienced the sensation of becoming so immersed in a book that when I came up for air I physically felt as if I’d been transported back from the land of Oz. It was truly a magical experience.

I had a similar experience when I read Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and experienced the magical realism for the first time. Through his incredible storytelling, I experienced a South American worldview in a way that even a trip to South America could not capture.

Imagine a world without books? Impossible.

Books not only convey information, they are a great a great socio-economic equalizer. Decades before I stood before an original Degas in the Musee D’Orsay in Paris, I read a book about Degas and looked at pictures of his famous ballerina paintings as a child, from my modest home in Florida.

Though I never studied Philosophy in university, I enjoyed a survey course of the world’s great philosophers, while enjoying the incredible story of a young girl doing the same, in Sophie’s World.

Books enrich my religious beliefs, lift me up when I’m feeling blue, and offer a delightful escape when I need a vacation but can’t afford to leave the house. They enrich my life by introducing me to people and places that I might never experience. And best of all, they convey ideas that enrich my view of the world around me.

What are  your favorite book-ish memories?

Guest post by Suzanne Anderson 




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