I just returned from my monthly pilgrimage to my favorite book Mecca: The Denver Public Library. I love libraries of all kinds, but the DPL has a special place in my heart. I spend hours there every month, browsing stacks and enjoying the discovery of new and antiquarian books that strike my fancy.
Today I came home with my book bag so full, I had to support the weight by carrying it in my arms up against my chest, instead of dangling it by the handles. Here’s the conversation when I got home:
He: How was the library?
Me: Wonderful! I got some great books on late-nineteenth-century Colorado and the librarian helped me search the rare books collection to find just what I was looking for.
He (watching me extract one book after another from the bag and carefully stack them in an order that makes sense to me on the dining table): Those books are old. You don’t even know who touched them before you. They’re probably covered with germs.
Me: There are no germs on books. Only cooties. And all book cooties are good cooties.
He didn’t say anything else so I’m assuming he thinks my response is either nuts or scientifically accurate. Either way, I was glad the discussion ended because it’s too hard to explain to a non-book-lover that handling and holding a book is a large part of the allure of reading.
Don’t get me wrong; I love the digital age and the convenience of an e-book reader, but for me there’s no substitute for holding a book in my hands . . . even if I get to hold them only until the due date when they go back to the library, where they happily live with the other book cooties.