Sunday, September 25, 2016

Collecting books is not hoarding. . .

"Let books be your dining table, 
And you shall be full of delights. 
Let them be your mattress,
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

There was a time when books were a treasure, something almost sacred and too valuable to be treated casually.  They were hand tooled in calligraphy and art, hand stitched, and elaborately bound with covers of finest leather. Today books are cheap and easy -- Wal-Mart sells and Amazon and you can easily find old and out of print books for next to nothing on the Internet.  Every year hundreds of books are published devoted to all topics and interests.  This is also true of the Church.  We have print on demand technology to aid the publishing house in keeping old titles still in print.  We have publishing houses (I think here of Concordia Publishing House) who do a bang up job of providing the good, the old, and the new to the Church.  You can find all things Christian between the covers of paper or book board --  theology, exegesis, liturgy, history, iconography, art, architecture, music, hymnals, catechisms, etc...  Additionally, hundreds of books are published each year simply because we can translate what was never before available in English.

Some of these are published by scholarly presses in conjunction with dissertations submitted and approved.  Others are published by popular book publishers.  Still others provided by those publishers who serve the discretion and pleasure of a particular denomination.  Some are the products of the so-called vanity presses who do not really promote the vain but more often what is not necessarily commercially viable for other concerns.

If I have a little extra money, I eat.  Otherwise I buy books.  Many books do not a hoarder make; instead a collector of words and pages preserves the past while investigation the future on behalf of those who have little time or inclination to do either.  So do not condemn me for my books.  Neither ask me to give up any of them.  I have retrieved them from yard sales, garbage cans, broken shelves, businesses going out of business, book sellers and internet sources of new and old.  If I read it in a book, I can probably find it again without too much trouble.  If I read it on a screen, good luck in me finding it again.  No, there is just something about holding a book in your hand, turning the page, smelling the pages, and putting it back on the shelf when you are finished.

Yes... I fancy books and fountain pens and lots of stuff on my walls.  But I am not a hoarder.

5 comments:

ErnestO said...

"Let books be your dining table,
And you shall be full of delights.
Let them be your mattress,
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

PLEASE ADD

Let the Bible be the book you live by,
And you will spend eternity with the Lord your God (ErnestO)

John Flanagan said...

I suppose one can be a reasonable collector of almost anything, from antiques and books, to refrigerator magnets and fountain pens, even classic cars if you can afford it...but if the passion to collect is extreme, it becomes hoarding. One who has this problem of collecting things to excess, than it can lead to an unhealthy passion and likely a psychological aberration. For a Christian, it means being absorbed in a worldly form of idolatry. Moderation is the key, and the things of the Lord must have first priority, not the perishable trinkets this world offers.

Katie Krieger said...

"One Book is enough, but a thousand is not too many!" Martin Luther
And I totally get you the difference between holding a book in your hands and reading off a screen. I always appreciate a good book!

Katie Krieger said...

"One Book is enough, but a thousand is not too many!" Martin Luther
And I totally get you the difference between holding a book in your hands and reading off a screen. I always appreciate a good book!

John said...

It's a bibliophile thing!