I cannot live without books.
— Thomas Jefferson
I was reminded of the quote by Thomas Jefferson in an article that was in the Sunday Washington Post. When so much of our reading these days is from computers, iPads and other electronic devices, I hope the love of reading the printed word on paper is not being lost. Certainly, a lot of us old-timers would feel lost in a world without books and words on paper.
On vacation this year at the beach, I was able to spend some quality time with a few books the owner of the rental house had left for those of us looking for something to fill a few quiet hours. And amidst the joyful and wonderful noise and confusion of 10 people, four of them under 7 years of age, living in the same house, a little quiet time with a good book was a pleasant distraction. Though the material was somewhat dated, as you might expect in this situation, I was able to find four good reads to fill my quiet time.
Although I didn’t know it until I heard it on the radio on the way home, Bill Bryson’s “A Walk In The Woods,” published in 1998, has been made into a movie, now in release, with Robert Redford and Nick Nolte playing the main characters. This book is a hoot. If you like anything about the outdoors, you will enjoy the way Bryson tells the story of hiking the Appalachian Trail. The major difference between the book and the film, from what I have heard and read, is that Redford and Nolte are 20 to 30 years older than the characters in the book.
I haven’t seen the movie and probably will not until it comes out on DVD. Then I can put the DVD in the player and put my TV ears on to hear what is being said. But I can recommend the book. It is a very enjoyable read.
Mary Higgins Clark is a most prolific mystery writer. Her thriller “The Cradle Will Fall” kept me looking for opportunities to get back to this paperback to see what would happen next. You may wind up reading this tale, published in 1991, in one or two sittings. It was that good.
As a young fellow, I read every Ian Fleming novel I could get my hands on that told of the exploits of 007, the super spy James Bond. I wound up rereading “Casino Royale.” In my humble opinion, it is not one of the best Bond novels, but it took me back to the time when I would have read the telephone book if it had the names of Fleming and Bond on the cover.
Finally, I spent time with a large, hardback book published by National Geographic on the history of the American Indian. It covered everything from the theories of Asians walking across the land bridge from the Asian continent and down through what is now Alaska and the Northwest Territories of Canada, to what is now the United States. It told of the devastation the Native Americans suffered after the arrival of Europeans on the Atlantic shore.
I confess I did not read the entire book, nor do I recall the exact title and publication date. Looking at Google, I find there are too many choices to be able to give you the precise reference. I include it here for the sake of completeness. It wasn’t my favorite book, but early American history is a topic I enjoy. And while it wasn’t the subject of this book, there was a fair amount of information about the interaction of the first settlers and the Native Americans.
I hope you have had a recent opportunity to spend some time with the written word, printed with ink on paper. My sister-in-law gave my bride a little sign that hangs on our refrigerator door. It is a quote from Cicero that says if you have a library and a garden, you have everything you need. I think that is about right. I trust you have enjoyed some of the words I have put on paper.