Sunday, June 03, 2007

Bibliophiles burn books...


Two bibliophiles who run a used bookstore in Kansas, MO decided to make a bonfire of a huge pile of books nobody wanted.

But according to Dave Barry in his NYT article books don't burn easily. They smoke and create ash, they smolder. And anyway the Fire Department came and said they can't burn books or anything else in this way.Tom Wayne and Will Leathem love books but thought they would burn the books to make a statement.
Books are just things, paper bricks of commerce taking up room. But they are also holy vessels, containing the written articulation of our experiences and dreams, allowing us to point to an arrangement of words and exclaim: “Yes! That’s it exactly!
The two book lovers decided they could make a cultural statement about the decline of literary reading in the United States, where, according to the National Endowment for the Arts, fewer than half the adults read even one novel or play or short story a year that is not required for work or school.

They took comfort in knowing that book fairies do not magically make overstock disappear, that books are quietly but routinely destroyed by publishers. And they adopted as their motto a quote they attributed to the poet Joseph Brodsky: “There are worse crimes than burning books. One is not reading them.”

6 comments:

Enemy of the Republic said...

I was told about this. Very disturbing.

the teach said...

Yes, enemy, so many people don't read...it's a shame.

Anne said...

I read an anthology once, so I'm caught up for about another ten years.

It is disturbing to burn books, but what can we do with all those tattered old penny awfuls? I hope they didn't burn any good books. But at least they did make people think and appreciate books.

the teach said...

Anne, they said they offered the books to so many people but no one wanted them. They certainly weren't best sellers!

raymond said...

I would have taken them...

Ok maybe not, but burning books seems so egregious to me. But I am biased. Me and books...we're homies.

:)

the teach said...

Well, raymond, then you and I are homies because I live among books. They surround me literally. And I teach literature. I wouldn't burn any books though but I sympathize with the book store guys.

Thanks for visiting...I always like hearing from you.