Monday, September 24, 2012

Don't Bury Me With a Book



When I was younger, I thought I wanted to be buried with my favorite books, but I'm older and wiser now.

My grandfather, whom I called Gonky, passed away August 17.  He had battled diabetes and gout for many years - but it was the onset of leukemia that really made the end of his life difficult. I was blessed to know him and love him - and benefit from his love of reading. 

Though he didn’t finish high school and his letters and stories had many, many typos, my grandfather still loved and valued books. And I was so pleased when my mother and grandmother presented my three boys with some of Gonky’s favorite books. The boys were thrilled to receive a huge stack of books about the fifty states, the national parks, several versions of Boy Scouts of America handbooks, books about nature and wildlife and books about U.S. Presidents. These were the subjects he loved.

Even after his death, he can share what he valued with his great-grandsons. 

Andilit.com is the blog of a writer I admire. Recently, she unpacked a box of her mother’s favorite books, and those books stirred her deep emotions. 

In my moderate library, I prize my old collection of Edgar Allen Poe stories, history books my husband’s mother, aunts and uncles used when they were school children in Ireland, first editions of Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern books, and books from my own childhood like The Castle in the Attic and the biographies of Helen Keller and Marie Curie. I am still inspired by these works of great literature and great people.

I plan one day to pass these books on to my children. They explain part of who I am.

I love my e-reader. E-readers make it so easy to read almost anything, anywhere without lugging around huge books and stacks of magazines. 

But I can’t imagine someone caressing the cover of an old iPad, reminiscing about the reader and the well-loved stories inside. 

I will never stop buying print books. I’m old-fashioned.