Mr Greene reminds us that, in spite of all the bad economic news around us and the falling-domino demise of large bookstore chains, we'll never run out of books to read ... for free, no less. That source of free and endless entertainment is the local library.
We sometimes forget, in this era of flashy displays of the newest novel by the latest hot author, that people have been writing books ... good books ... for centuries. They're all out there, waiting for us to find and enjoy them, and many (if not most) of them are available from our local libraries.
It will be argued, of course, that many libraries aren't really free ... that we pay for them with our taxes. I would argue in response that I can't think of a much more worthwhile use of those tax dollars. The vast selection of books available from even the smallest local library gives us a measure of escape from the steady drumbeat of bad news. You don't need 3-D glasses or a grossly overpriced ticket to enjoy them, and if the power goes out, so what? - the ink is still there on the page, ready to be read and savored at any time, again and again.
There are older books that I have enjoyed so much that I've read them over and over again. Here are just a few I could recommend to you:
The Kapillan of Malta, by Nicholas Monsarrat - the wonderful and intriguing history of the island of Malta, told by a humble country priest as a series of stories to entertain and encourage people cowering in bomb shelters during the dark days of World War II;
The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien - liked the movies? Read the books. The writing style is a bit heavy, but the imagery makes the story come to life in your mind;
Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens - a great novel by a great author nowadays often denigrated as one of those "dead white males" who should be ignored in favor of newer, more "representative" writers; and,
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, by Arthur Conan Doyle - terrific "law and order" entertainment without the least need for DNA analysis, forensic anthropology, or any of the other hallmarks of modern detective fiction.
All of these books and millions more are available at or through your local library. As we look at ways to cut government spending, wouldn't it be a tragedy to ruthlessly slash the funding for one of our greatest treasures for public education, learning, and entertainment?
What are your favorite books, new or old? Uncle Bilbo wants to know. Leave a comment or send me an e-mail, and we'll share the recommendations in this space.
Reading - it's the last of the simple, free pleasures of life. Protect and enjoy it.
Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.