Up the stairs with Aesop

Last week I spent hours schlepping books that I hadn’t touched in years, AustenAdams and Aeosop, from our apartment down to the car and (at the other end of a journey) back up again to my office: Busch, Böll, Baudelaire. Since I couldn’t find a trolley, I asked my students to help me carry them: if you’d been there you’d have seen a group of young people each carrying 5-10 books (“You can give me more than that”), follow me up the stairs into the elevator, through the canteen (they were worried what other students would be thinking about them: Goethe, Grass and Gaskell) and into my office where they lingered, touching and opening the books carefully as if they were precious things, reading in them here and there: “Take your time,” I said. They made few comments, a little awed I suppose since they didn’t know which books I liked: KafkaKoestlerKant. All of this was only possible because they were paper books. Am now thinking about starting a new trend at our school: rallying students to walk through the house with small piles of books in their hands (VerneVirgilValéry) for no other reason than to increase the presence of printed matter in an otherwise increasingly digital learning environment.

2 thoughts on “Up the stairs with Aesop

  1. I love this image, wonderful. As of tonight, Jodi Picoult is propping up my bedside table because one of the legs fell off, and it’s dark in my toolshed. It’s not a reflection of her work; it’s purely due to the thickness of the books (x2) which allow my whisky to rest on a flat, stable surface. Books are great — so damn stable. 

    • Thank you, Martha, I totally missed out on several important qualities of books. I rested a bottle on my first Kindle only once that’s why I’m now on my second Kindle. Stability is so important, especially if you write: when the world in your mind turns to mush, you can still hold on to hardbound books from the past to keep yourself sane and finish that story.

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