Thursday, September 28, 2017

The journey of a book

I just finished reading a nonfiction book by an author and naturalist who had once worked for an encyclopedia, answering research questions that readers sent in. Apparently this was an actual service encyclopedias provided once upon a time! It boggles my mind that they would have bothered. Now such things have all been swept away by the internet. 

Anyway, I enjoyed the book (Elephant Bones and Lonelyhearts, by Ronald Rood), which I'd acquired secondhand. And I enjoyed wondering about one of the book's previous owners, who had written her name on the flyleaf along with her town and the date November 16, 1977. I wondered whether the Vermont publisher that published the book is still in business (probably not, as far as I can tell).

With a little internet searching, I discovered that the author wrote many other books, appeared on PBS and NPR, and passed away in 2001. I was sad to hear that he's gone, but I marveled once more at how books bring us into contact with other lives, other worlds. This book published 40 years ago made its way to me, and opened a window onto some parts of the past I might not have known about otherwise. The author's words are still alive. We never know where our books may go.

No comments:

Post a Comment