The past few weeks I’ve been sorting through years of accumulated items, placing some in the trash and others in boxes for donation. For me, one of the hardest objects to be, well, objective with, is books.
Is there any one item that man has created that can share knowledge, experiences, and allow the reader to live a different life? While there are so many categories of art, few match the creation of the book for its wide ranging abilities.
I’ve seen people treat books badly. Even I once turned a book upside down to save a page because I know I’d be returning soon. I’ve seen people write in them (maybe not horrible as long as it’s for the reader’s pleasure and becomes a keepsake. I’ve seen people use them as coasters–the horror! And others have banned them.
The worst offense was revisited recently. Book burning. Students at a Georgia college decided to burn a guest speaker’s book because they were offended that she, a Cuban-American, spoke of white privilege.
Perhaps one of the most amazing aspects of this story for me was that college students were the ones burning books. Individuals who are attending an institution of higher learning, who have an opportunity to better themselves through education, who, alas, should be seekers of knowledge, decided, instead, to burn an award-winning novel written by a college professor.
How completely disappointing that instead of embracing new ideas and knowledge, these college students chose to reject and burn them. Imagine being so young and already possessing a closed mind, although, for their sake, I hope it’s not too late to learn.
Look homeward, angel, to when the only things college students were burning were bras.