Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The fragrance of book glue

I needn't remind you that readers have always constituted a minority within your species. Merely by opening this chronicle of mine, you have placed yourself in rare company. The odor of bowel wind is known to every human, but the fragrance of book glue has crossed only a fraction of mortal nostrils. And yet it behooves us not to judge the unlettered too harshly. We must stay the impulse to write CHUCKLEHEAD above their doors and carve DOLT upon their tombstones. For in days gone by, at least, a certain chariness toward typography made sense. . . .

And so we see how throughout history the community of readers has been prey to sinister forces—to pedants and priests, legislators and lunatics, deities and demagogues. You have paid for your passion in humiliation, mutilation, and sometimes even—as when Henry VIII burned Bible translator William Tyndale as a heretic—immolation. I salue you all, as do my fellow books. Were you to call yourselves heroes, we would not smirk. Show me an accomplished reader, and I shall show you a person of many virtues, thoughtful and articulate, comtemplative though rarely passive, temperate and yet benignly Ambitious.

--James Morrow, The Last Witchfinder

1 comment:

M. Barresi said...

I just got Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants, but I think Morrow's book could be next.