This picture has very little to do with this post, but I couldn't resist. It's my favorite scene from one of my all-time favorite movies.

Everybody possesses a library, some extensive, some selective, but each one a treasure trove of history, comedy, and wisdom. I am discriminating with my collection. You see, a library is like your life, and the books within are the friends you make.

Take a look at what lines your shelves.

Laughter is one of the greatest gifts God has given us, and we need to laugh. Henry Ward Beecher once said, “Mirth is God’s medicine. Everyone ought to bathe in it.” But I think Alan Alda pretty much said it best when he offered this advice: “When people are laughing, they’re generally not killing each other.”

We need volumes of laughter.

When we’re in need of good company, we don’t just walk into our library and pull just anything from the shelf. Only the right title will do. Some choices offer wise counsel. Some offer comfort. Some take on us wild adventures. Some help us find our inner child, cajole our hopeless romantic, or nurture precious memories.

The most special volumes cut through our exteriors and find their way to our core. They help us open up, give us courage, and inspire us to make our dreams come true.

So many books, so little time. But it’s quite the injustice to choose a book only to leave it sitting on the shelf. Books and friendships must be interactive. I like what James Bryce has to say about books–“The worth of a book is to be measured by what you can carry away from it.”

As you build your library, build carefully, build wisely. Every book comes with a price. You get what you pay for, and exteriors can be deceiving.

The greatest let down of all is to be enticed by the blurb on the back cover and then later discover the book itself is nothing like what it promises. The old axiom is true. You can’t always judge a book by its cover.

I’ll leave you with a metaphorical challenge. Read the quotes I’ve listed below, and every time you see the word book, think about your friends and friendships. You may walk away with a new lesson about life.

“If there’s a book you really want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” ~  Toni Morrison

“Books let us into their souls and lay open to us the secrets of our own.”  ~  William Hazlitt

“I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. “ ~  Anna Quindlen

A book must be an ice-axe to break the seas frozen inside our soul.  ~  Franz Kafka

“Books can be dangerous.  The best ones should be labeled “This could change your life.”  ~Helen Exley

“Books are not made for furniture, but there is nothing else that so beautifully furnishes a house.”  ~ Henry Ward Beecher

[Books are] “medicine for the soul.”  ~  Inscription over the door of the Library at Thebes

“Good as it is to inherit a library, it is better to collect one.”  ~  Augustine Birrell

“A house without books is like a room without windows.”  ~ Heinrich Mann

“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.”  ~  Richard Steele

And what true friendship is to the heart.

What do you think? Lend a part of yourself to my library. Please leave a comment. I always enjoy hearing from you.

14 thoughts on “Bibliotheca

  1. The books I’m fine on – got tons of them (literally?). What I lack are bookshelves. I have no place to put my books and 2/3rds of my library is still packed in boxes.

    Je suis desolee…

    PS – I love “Ghostbusters” too!

  2. Quite literally, the shelf in our living room is double filled. The shelf in my sunroom? Filled. I have books in baskets. Books by my bed. Books in my truck! I treasure them all, but what I really need to do is to make time to read them even if my heart and spazzed out, minimally functioning mind thinks I’d rather just sit and stare at some mindless computer game that offers nothing. Facebook’s Zuma is probably just some form of alien mind control.

  3. So many books, so little time… With the coming of the “Nook” and the “Kendall”, an actual book to hold may become obsolete – perish the thought!

    Books are indeed friends. There have been times when I have finished a book, and then actually hugged it because it was sooo good and I wanted more.

    I remember library day in elementary school, and in our Family, Thursday was the day we went to the public library. Good memories.

    I also remember that as a child, if we happened to drop a book (oh the horror!), Dad would make us pick it up, tell it we were sorry and give it a hug and a kiss. I do that to this day. Makes me laugh, but it drove home the importance of respect for the written word.

    When I moved back from California, I had something like 40 boxes of books. Took me weeks to get ’em all reorganized.

    P.S. Zuma IS alien mind control, but don’t tell the people in Farmville – they’ll just go asking for more water…

    • I can still “smell” the books in my elementary school library. The first book I learned to read was Flip, a book about a little horse. I say read, but actually I memorized every word and tried to impress my mother with my grand knowledge.

  4. Books are everywhere in my house. There isn’t enough room for them in my bedroom. We basically have books taking over the office in my house. There are books in my parent’s bedroom, books in the living room, and books in the attic. You could probably find a book in every single room in my house. We are bookworms.

  5. People talk readily about books, not so readily about relationships, which is really what this blog is about.

    Books seem to be becoming a thing of the past. If you haven’t read Fahrenheit 451, make the time this summer. Bradbury wrote it in nine days I think. Wouldn’t take you more than a few hours to read. If people are like books, do you think we’ll ever become so tech oriented that’ll we’ll take people for granted? I think so.

  6. I see family members texting one another when they are standing side by side. People tweet their family what is for dinner…

    Perhaps the hoarding of books is like the friends we make so readily and then just put on the shelf and forget about. Oh, how proud we are of our vast collections, but they receive little more than the obligatory dusting from time to time.

    There are books that I have read repeatedly – all of the Little House series, several of the Steven King books,and countless paperback. Trying to “assign names” (friends) to these books… Who is the most cherished….

    Perhaps technology has already taken us too far… Gonna have to ponder on this a bit. I think perhaps I did not get the analogy relationships/books on the first go round…

    • I’m embarrassed to say my son and I have actually “talked” on Facebook even though we were just a few feet apart. I’m not very technology savvy. I still prefer just talking the old fashioned way, something I don’t get a chance to do very much. 🙂

  7. I’m so thankful I had access to books as a child and that I grew up reading. It’s a past time you never outgrow, even though the amount of time a person can devote to reading might come and go.

    I’ve hauled books around for years, every time I moved (which has been a lot!). There are some volumes I just can’t seem to part with… one reason I love having a Kindle. It will be a lot easier to move in the future 🙂

  8. After receiving my Kindle, it seemed that it was the greatest invention ever, although it is doubtful that the hard back books will ever completely leave a person. Something about flipping the pages back for a second look are very satisfying.

  9. I agree. Some people would NEVER highlight a book, but if it’ something I really like, I do. Hard to highlight a Kindle….well, I guess there’s an app for that too.

  10. I just love to read! I have easily adapted to the new tech age with an iPad. I do adore reading a good book. My favorite though in my library, keeping to your theme is Joyce Meyer’s “Battlefield of the Mind” This was the most eyeopening book I have ever read. I spend so much time reading reference books and manuals on sewing, cooking camera stuff… but when I really want to escape a good novel just takes me away. Thanks for another provocative post, Tee. 🙂

  11. Thanks Kuby. Actually my spacey brain was going left with it, but all the readers took a right. That’s okay though. I really enjoy the comments. They make me think,

    I still can’t focus enough to read anything. I’m sure time heals.

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