A few days can be a very short time. Only last BookSnap I was reflecting on our need to be ruthless with our book collection and weed out those that were never likely to be read again. And then, just a few days later, I came across this quote by C. S. Lewis about growing up surrounded by books.
I am a product […of] endless books. My father bought all the books he read and never got rid of any of them. There were books in the study, books in the drawing room, books in the cloakroom, books (two deep) in the great bookcase on the landing, books in a bedroom, books piled as high as my shoulder in the cistern attic, books of all kinds reflecting every transient stage of my parents’ interest, books readable and unreadable, books suitable for a child and books most emphatically not. Nothing was forbidden me. In the seemingly endless rainy afternoons I took volume after volume from the shelves. I had always the same certainty of finding a book that was new to me as a man who walks into a field has of finding a new blade of grass. (C. S. Lewis)
It has inspired a rethink. While we don’t have a cloakroom or an attic, we come surprisingly close to Lewis’ description of his childhood home.
Many of them are readable, and some not so much. Some of them are suitable for children, especially those in Dan’s room, but many are definitely not. But I am always sure to find something new to read.
From when my children were very young, I have surrounded them with books. I believe that one of the greatest gifts we can bequeath to our young is a love of reading and a deep appreciation for books. Perhaps one day they will also be able to claim being a “product of endless books.” At least they will never be able to say there is nothing to read.