For it is by grace you have been saved...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Bibliophiles Unite

I'm a bibliophile. Plain and simple. And lest the less educated out there get the wrong idea, it simply means I'm a book lover. One of my favorite quotes is from Henry Ward Beecher who said: "It is a man's duty to have books. A library is not a luxury, but one of the necessaries of life." I love books. I love reading. I love the feel of the pages, the smell of a room full of books, the way they line up on the shelves. I love being able to write in the margins, underline favorite parts to come back to later, etc.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my laptop as well. In fact, when my old laptop recently went to that big cyberspace in the sky, I thought I was lost. All my sermon files, all my notes, all my Bible study software, etc. was on that thing. Thanks to the graciousness of a friend, I’ve been able to replace that one with a newer model and retrieved most of my information, so it’s all good. It made me realize how much I do depend on the technology. But still…I love the books.

Example. I have the complete library of C. H. Spurgeon sermons on my computer. I love the search capability this affords. I love to be able to copy and paste a quote when I want. But for pleasure, I still like to pull out my 20 volume 1890’s edition of Spurgeon’s sermons. Again, the smell and feel of those books. You can even sense the age there, and it makes you feel more connected.

That’s one reason I like collecting the antique hymnals that I’ve mentioned before. In part, because they are books. They are old books. And I love ‘em.

Supper-blogger Tim Challies recently posted on the advantages of books over the new “Kindle” technology. That’s what got me thinking about this again. He calls the book the perfect technology, highlighting the “experience” of reading a book, and I couldn’t agree more. (Read his article here)

In fact, several years ago I came across a sermon illustration type story about a replacement for computers (I honestly don’t remember where this came from so apologies for not crediting the original author. If you’re out there let me know). It goes like this:

Computer Replacement

For several years we've been secretly working on the next step in technology, a replacement for computers. We think we've found it.

Announcing the new Built-in Orderly Organized Knowledge device (BOOK). It's a revolutionary breakthrough in technology: no wires, no electric circuits, no batteries, nothing to be connected or switched on. It's so easy to use even a child can operate it. Compact and portable, it can be used anywhere--even sitting in an armchair by the fire--yet it is powerful enough to hold as much information as a CD-ROM disk.

Here's how it works: Each BOOK is constructed of sequentially numbered sheets of paper, each capable of holding thousands of bits of information. These pages are locked together with a custom-fit device called a binder that keeps the sheets in their correct sequence. The user scans each sheet optically, registering information directly into his or her brain. A flick of the finger takes the user to the next sheet.

The BOOK may be taken up at any time and used by merely opening it. The "browse" feature allows the user to move instantly to any sheet and to move forward or backward as desired. Most BOOKs come with an "index" feature that pinpoints the exact location of any selected information for instant retrieval. An optional "BOOKmark" accessory allows the user to open the BOOK to the exact place left in a previous session--even if the BOOK has been closed. BOOKmarks fit universal design standards; thus a single BOOKmark can be used in BOOKs by various manufacturers.

Portable, durable, and affordable, the BOOK is the entertainment wave of the future, and many new titles are expected soon, due to the surge in popularity of its programming tool, the Portable Erasable-Nib Cryptic Intercommunication Language Stylus (PENCILS).

I just love that. Books are indeed the perfect technology. And I can’t help but believe there are many benefits besides the intake of information. It seems to me that the rise in ADHD almost directly parallels the rise of technology and the decline in plain old book reading. I have no proof of that. Just something I’ve considered a time or two. I know our kids seem to benefit from the fact that their technology time has always been limited, but their book access never has been. I think they are much better for it.

So, bibliophiles unite! Let’s take our message to the streets. Technology may be wonderful and even needful. But it will never replace the book. So stop reading online blogs and go read a book!


heath lloyd said...

Scott: Thanks for this post. I will stand with the ranks of bibliophiles.

"I cannot live without books."
-- Thomas Jefferson

scott said...

Welcome, my Book Brother!