“A book is a fragile creature, it suffers the wear of time, it fears rodents, the elements and clumsy hands. So the librarian protects the books not only against mankind but also against nature and devotes his life to this war with the forces of oblivion”
(Photograph: Padova, Italy–Padua to English speakers–Julie Cook / June 2007)
I thought this quote by the Italian author appropriate as this picture is taken of the interior of a very old bookshop in Padova, Italy (Padua to English speakers). I wish I had a room in my house that looked like this—there are bountiful mysteries and treasures to be found and unearthed amongst all of these very old and ancient books precariously perched on equally old wooden shelves. Padova is known for its array of antique “paper” shops–be it book, map, or early engravings–there is a treasure trove of shops waiting to be explored.
I love old places like this shop as they have so much to offer the curious—not only from the books themselves and their stories, but from the items perhaps tucked away hiding between the pages of each old tome—leaving me wondering who once may have owned or held one of these particular old books…There is the immediate smell upon entering such a shop–the unmistakeable scents of dust and time emanating from of an old shop housing either old papers, maps, books or art–a bit of must and mildew, the endless battle a book lover/paper lover has with the Elements protecting all from the ravages of time– preserving the ancient for the inquisitive browser such as myself.
New or old, I love a “real” tangible book—none of this e-reader business for me. I love the feel of the binding–perhaps soft leathers, and often the brittle pages of yellowed paper, the smells– often musty, the visual, as well as tactile, relationship a reader develops with a book in hand, turing each page either carefully as not to tear the fragile sheet, or as in quickly, as not being able to wait to read what comes next….it’s as if you are sitting with a dear old friend of whom there is familiarity, ease and comfort.
It’s predicted to pour down from the heavens all weekend–torrential rain—this will be a wonderful opportunity to park myself on the couch complete with a cup of hot tea, and one of the myriad of books waiting for me to pick them up, introduce myself and develop a deep kindred connection—oh for the stories I will read and the places I will be transported to–all from a single book. Happy reading this rainy weekend.