Thursday, June 01, 2006

Read it whilst ye may

A bonfire of books. The thought curdles me. Some say my species is imperishable, but they lie, for ours is a chillingly provisional immortality. Although we commonly outlive our creators, the curious scholar need look no further than the inferno that razed the Library of Alexandria to realize that a book may vanish irretrievably, leaving behind only a whiff of carbon and a pile of ash. Gutenberg, of course, did much to allay our angst--for us the coming of movable type was equivalent to the arrival of gonads among you vertebrates--but the fact remains that visions of extinction haunt all texts. The moral of my dread is simple. Treasure each volume you hold in your hands, and read it whilst ye may.

--James Morrow, The Last Witchfinder

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