Monday, January 16, 2012

Proof that Books are Eternal


Some fear that the e-book will ultimately mark the demise of the actual, tangible, hard or soft covered book. 

As a social worker, I’ve been touched by many clients. One special lady proves the book will never go extinct…

Not long ago, I ran into a young woman I used to work with. This lady has struggled with significant mental health issues and cognitive impairment. As a toddler, she witnessed horrendous violence in her home, and she remembers the graphic details.  Yet she is one of the sweetest, most innocent people I’ve ever known – always doing favors for others, readily offering hugs, and trying to assure that everyone she knows is doing alright.

The woman earns very little money but spends what she has on books. Sure enough, when I saw her, she was holding a book. She studied it page by page, took a red pen to the words – circling select letters, underlining words and sentences, perusing each page carefully and then dog-earring it before moving onto the next. She did this for an extended period of time and with a grin across her face.

This might seem a common scenario. It’s not. What’s so striking in this case is that the young lady cannot read at all. She can’t identify letters, write her name or recite any of the alphabet. Her cognitive challenges are such that there is no way she’s learned these skills in the time since I’ve worked with her.
Yet she clearly felt important, competent and special - enjoying the feel of a book in her hands, studying the words and letters, and adding bright red ink to the pages. If this is not proof that books are eternal, nothing is!

35 comments:

  1. Wow! What an interesting story. I too, lament the impending demise of the the hard-back and the paperbacks. I LOVE my books. I have two bookshelves full with novels and Shakespeare. I refuse to get rid of any of them. Some are worn, with the pages turning yellow, others are still in great condition!

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  2. Very touching story Robyn. I love my Kindle, but there is always going to be something about a book. I badly wish she could read...

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  3. In another life she might have been a teacher as all of my papers and books got a healthy dose of the RED PEN!!! Inspiring story and I agree, there is nothing like the feel of a REAL book! W.C.C.

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  4. A very endearing and engaging post. Really makes you think.about what's important.

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  5. What a sweet woman. I hope she does learn to read so she can appreciate her books even more.

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  6. Beautiful. Indeed, books are eternal. Oh, to hold, smell and read a book! Bliss! :-) lovely post, Robyn!

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  7. an interestign take on it - yes I am sad about the demise of the book, although the Kindle is sadly addictive.

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  8. I agree with you Robyn especially after reading this story. I don't think books will die so to speak although the E-Book is definitely taking over for now. Books will always have a place in this world in my opinion, I don't think they'll ever be completely obsolete.

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  9. They will always have a place, just to put such a smile on ones face. Doubt they will ever be as big as they were once more, but there will always be shelves to fill with the at our shore.

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  10. Thank you, all. Yes, there will always be books. I don't know if I'll ever get the Kindle, probably at some point. But getting under the covers with a Kindle in hand just sounds wrong. And this lady is such a gem. I adore her and wish she could read too.

    Have a great day.
    xoRobyn

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  11. This punched me right in the GUT! Thanks Robyn! Great, great post!!

    LYMI, LYMI, LYMI!

    Your Buddy,

    J

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  12. I was recently at the opening of a new library, and was shocked to see that except for children's picture books and a handful of magazines, there were no books! All of the books were in digital format! It was depressing...

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  13. I wasn't expecting that! I love the feel of books, too. And especially the smell. Having worked in a library for many years, I always feel at home amongst that smell.

    Like Kara above, I'm depressed (and a bit shocked) at the idea of a bookless library.

    Books are timeless. You can own a book 200 years old, if you're lucky. I fear ebooks will go the way of films or music - always having to update your collection when the next format comes up - vinyl, tape, CD, MP3?

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  14. Awesome post, Robyn! I should've known you do something wonderful for a living, like social work. :)

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  15. SIng it, Sister! The power of the book in the hand--it's amazing.

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  16. Wow!! That made me a little teary eyed for some reason. How neat. Just goes to show the power a book can have, even over one who can't read. Thank you for sharing, it makes me appreciate my books and my ability to read even more.

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  17. She sounds like someone you won't forget.
    I like books too. So do my daughter. She doesn't want a kindle. My husband suggested one for her for Christmas, but she's a book girl so she got a bookshelf that still won't hold all her books.

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  18. What a heartwarming post!

    P.S. Miss you. xoxox

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  19. Great story Robyn.. I'm sure you know how I feel about it...

    Books forever!!

    They can email their ebooks up their essholes!

    ;)

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  20. This is such a moving story Robyn. I'm sure that you were a huge help to her. I wonder if she was somehow able to find comfort in cradling books, because she didn't have dolls or other toys during those horrific moments. It's amazing that despite everything she became such a warm and loving person. Reading this makes me very proud of both of you. Julie

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  21. The love of a good book, in your hands, on your nightstand...and in your heart - that simply can't die.

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  22. Thanks for your wonderful comments. I hope you're all enjoying great (and real) books these days.
    xoRobyn

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  23. Robyn, what an incredibly moving story . . . and I agree with you, books are eternal. There's nothing like the smell and feel of a good used book I find in the library or a thrift store, finding dog-eared pages or notes made by previous readers and wondering whey that page was so important to mark it, or the new factory smell of a new book that speaks to me as I break open its spine. You keep writing like you do, girl!

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  24. That is a really moving story. There is something very special about a book. I have to admit that I love to sniff books (did I really just share that with all your followers?!) How sad that your lady has never learnt to read those words though.

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  25. What a story!
    I love the tactile feel you get from actual pages in an actual book.
    Plus, I don't want to bring a Kindle into the bathroom.
    It's electronic and there's water in that bowl.
    Plus, imagine how skeeved you'd get from looking at those finger smudges.

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  26. That is an awesome story. Years ago after a horrendous divorce(knew no one in the town, 1000 miles from home, and had very little money) the only thing that kept me sane was a little bookstore with only used books. Plus, when I returned the ones I read she gave me credit towards more. That lady and those books literally saved my life. I hope someone will read to this lady from one of her precious books!

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  27. wow Great story. I love reading them. Thanks and keep writing :)

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  28. Wow, what a wonderful story. So touching! Thanks for sharing it, Robyn.

    Have a great weekend ahead!

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