Wednesday, December 12, 2012
The Best of 2012, My Favorite Non-Humorous Post
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!