Books are burning

June 26, 2008


As my summer is beginning, I stepped over to my bookcase and thought it a good idea to pick out something I already had. I drifted over to the Hermann Hesse section. There was Rosshalde, Steppenwolf, Glass Bead Game, Demian, and I chose Peter Camenzind, his first novel.

I loved Hesse in high-school: would I like it now? Hmm, I read Siddartha 2 years back and loved it. Let’s try again.

I started reading the book, er, the paperback book. Hmmm, let’s see, it says I bought it in March 1971, and it was printed in 1969. So this book, er paperback book, is almost 40 years old.

You may have heard that our libraries are burning. No, not in flames. The books that have a high acid (or any) content are slowly burning, or drying severely and will eventually crumble into dust. The pages of my Hesse book are turning yellow and becoming brittle. I looked at the cover: $1.95. I’ve read a quarter of the book. I am not liking the smell; I am feeling guilty about considering throwing the book away and buying a new copy (and translation).

We hold onto our books as little trophies: I READ THIS it says to the person who skims the bookshelf. THIS IS WHO I AM it implies.

This book, Peter Camenzind, has served its purpose. Throw it away Roger. Buy a new one. Stimulate the economy, even if it’s only 8.95 plus tax. Life is too short to spend long hours with stinky books.

Long live acid free books, and the E-books of the future.

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