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Some comments: 'In defense of the book' by W. H. Gass in Harper's Mag.November 1999



I just read the article entitled 'In Defense Of The Book', written by
William H. Gass, published by the Harper's Magazine November '99 issue.
My thanks to the person who mentioned it on this list earlier. The essay
is a thoughtful piece and reflects feelings too. I immediately was
brought back to those 'pure' childhood years when it was a sheer
pleasure to open a book. I remember especially a human anatomy book
which came to the house when I was 9 or 10. It contained a few
transparent pages, in a row, with various sets of colored
representations of the internal organs in a body, so that by turning
these pages this way or that, one could take away or add to the final
picture, on paper, of the body. Wondered, I vaguely thought that the
book was making it possible to see what was invisible to the naked eye.
And, as we all know by now, things impressed in our brain during
childhood are not forgotten easily. The second point I wish to draw
attention to, is the fact that people in North America are really
blessed with libraries and their openness to the readers. When I first
came to Canada about 30 years ago, being able to go personally into the
stacks myself made me feel important or a 'wanted' citizen. I might have
gone to the library for a specific book for an essay or something but
once inside, I was attracted, similarly to Gass, to other 'beauties'.
The result: I came home each time loaded with 10 books which I could not
read and return in due date. Fines I payed...Anyway, I just want to
state that - this might sound phony but it isn't - the reason I like to
live where I am living is due largely to the knowledge that many books
are waiting there in stacks of libraries for me. They are waiting
without competition, malice, agressivity; they are waiting to be picked
up, to offer their best, just like a good friend.
                                      Rezan
--
Rezan Peya Gken,
rgokcen@uoguelph.ca
http://ugalumni.uoguelph.ca/~rgokcen/Turkish_Bookarts

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