Tuesday, November 3, 2015

My Favorite Place

“In a good book room you feel in some mysterious way that you are absorbing the wisdom contained in all the books through your skin, without even opening them.” [Mark Twain]

Baldwin Book Barn has been a significant part of my life since 1968.  It has been and remains one of my favorite places to visit.  I’ve spent hours wandering the five floors in the old barn and bought hundreds of books there. I’ve enjoyed taking special friends to the Book Barn, including my granddaughter, Katie, for over a half-century.  Imagine that!

Three years ago I had to down-size my library for lack of space.  Hundreds of books were returned to the Book Barn—most of which had been bought there.  What a painful process that was—giving up a full set of the Harvard Classics and other great volumes of similar worth.  I still grieve the loss of those treasures!  Sometimes I think of something I read in a book and begin to search for it, only to find that it was in one of those I had to “let go.”  It is a great comfort, at such a moment, to know that if I really want to find that book again all I have to do is go to the Book Barn.  Or, I think, (and it is a comforting thought) that perhaps some other person has bought that book by now and has discovered the wealth of wisdom within it. 

Henry Ward Beecher asked the question, “Where is human nature so weak as in the bookstore?”  Knowing my weakness in the Book Barn, and my limited space, I have tried in recent years to avoid going there.  But Home Depot, Staples, and other such places just can’t measure up to the Baldwin Book Barn.   I’ve made up my mind to give up this avoidance tactic.  I shall begin again my regular visits to the Book Barn, where I will browse once more to my heart’s content and buy a book (maybe several) now and then, if so led.  “A room without books is like a body without a soul.” [Cicero]  After all, what good will the new recliner be, if while sitting in it, there are no books to read?

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