Prufrock's Page

Monday, May 01, 2006

Killing Forests

The last time one moved home was five months ago -- and some of the too-many books that one owns are still in cartons, hidden in snug cabinets above cupboards. The rest are crammed into a few shelves; one still holds on to the dream that the day will come when there will be space for all of them, and time for me to attempt to categorise them. Allen Jones asks himself the same questions that sometimes run through one's mind:

"Why do I have all these goddamned books? Why does anybody? They're expensive, they weigh you down, they're cumbersome. Writing them, reading them, treasuring them. This day and age, it feels antiquated. Quaint. Especially now, with all the information in the world a click and a digital beep-boop-bop away, why all these ponderous rows of bound paper? What's the illness, and what's the cure?"

His answers: "Sentimentality, utility, procrastination. Then there's simple ego." And his bleak yet hopeful conclusion: "It seems that we should treasure our books if only because the alternative – a life in modernity without the possibility of escape, without reading – is too bleak to contemplate."


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