“We don’t need a list of rights and wrongs, tables of dos and don’ts: we need books, time, and silence. Thou shalt not is soon forgotten, but Once upon a time lasts forever.” — Philip Pullman
I’ve always loved books. As a child, I went to another world through their pages, a world I’ve never really left. Now I find I like to write them.
But back then, a set of the World Book Encyclopedia provided hours of fascination. Its multiple volumes probably taught me the fun of research but I was lost in wonder as I wandered from aardvarks to geography, musical instruments to world flags and new-to-me lands and cultures in a kind of physicalized Wikipedia. Following leads meant putting one book down and taking another from the shelf, finding the related entry, then going back to where I’d started—a very different feeling from today’s click-and-go links.
On Saturday mornings, we’d go to the public library, where I could check out ten books a week. Then I’d get ten more. I read everything I could get my hands
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