From Michael Dirda, “an exhortation to read, read, read”
Over at The American Scholar, Michael Dirda is retiring his wonderful “Browsings” column. (In case you’re somehow unaware of Michael Dirda — a crazy thought — he “is a Pulitzer Prize-winning critic and the author of the memoir An Open Book and of four collections of essays: Readings, Bound to Please, Book by Book, and Classics for Pleasure. His most recent book, part of Princeton’s Writers on Writers series, is On Conan Doyle. Dirda is also a frequent lecturer and an occasional college teacher.”)
Naturally, his column, which has been published weekly for the past year, is devoted to exploring, reflecting, meditating on, and celebrating the world of books and reading, as refracted through Michael’s magnificently rich sensibility for such things. The final installment, published just yesterday, takes the form of “an exhortation to read, read, read,” as articulated in these oh-so-choice words of wisdom about the deep meaning of books as such:
Books don’t just furnish a room. A personal library is a reflection of who you are and who you want to be, of what you value and what you desire, of how much you know and how much more you’d like to know. When I was growing up, there used to be a magisterial librarian’s guide entitled Living with Books. I think that’s the right idea. Digital texts are all well and good, but books on shelves are a presence in your life. As such, they become a part of your day-to-day existence, reminding you, chastising you, calling to you … [T]he world is full of wonderful stories, heartbreakingly beautiful and witty poems, thrilling works of history, biography, and philosophy. They will make you laugh, or hug yourself with pleasure, or deepen your thinking, or move you as profoundly as any experience this side of a serious love affair.
— Michael Dirda, “A Positively, Final Appearance,” Browsings, The American Scholar, February 1, 2013
If such thoughts and sentiments speak to you, then be advised that much wonderful reading awaits you in the column’s previous installments.