Using Books

The delight I derive from writing in my books is one reason I do not own an e-book reader. To me books are talismans and memento mori, yes, but they are also toys. I like to play with my books, to mark them up, to give them a lived-in look. I like to stack them up on the shelf and move them about and rearrange them according to new parameters — height, color, thickness, provenance, publisher, author’s nationality, subject matter, likelihood that I will ever read them. Then I put them back the way they were. I love to pull my books down off the shelf and read striking passages to baffled dimwits who have turned up at my house. From the moment I own a book, even before I open it to the first page, I feel that it has in some way changed my life. I treat my books the same way I treat my clothes or my shoes or my records: I use them. You cannot do any of this with a Kindle.

— Joe Queenan, One for the Books, p. 15

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