I spent this morning at the Word on the Street literacy festival in downtown Vancouver, where I picked up a free book with a label pasted on the inside cover proclaiming that this was a Travelling Book. I can enter its ID number at www.bookcrossing.com to see where it’s been, and I can follow where it goes after I read and release it.
I love the idea of travelling books. In fact I just plain love books and everything about them. I love books about books, like The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I also love movies about books, like 84 Charing Cross Road, which started life as a book and is based on a true story. Tonight I finally saw this movie in its entirety, from start to finish, and I enjoyed it very much.
It’s a movie about the beauty and wisdom to be found in books – especially old books – if we have the patience to look for them. But it’s also about the power of the written word to bring people together, forge friendships, cross cultures, bridge oceans, span time, and make the world smaller.
No spoilers here, just a few lines quoted in the movie that I found particularly moving.
The first, a poem by W. B. Yeats.
Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
And the second, an exerpt from one of John Dunne’s Meditations.
“..all mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated; God employs several translators; some pieces are translated by age, some by sickness, some by war, some by justice; but God’s hand is in every translation, and his hand shall bind up all our scattered leaves again for that library where every book shall lie open to one another.”
Good night, sleep well – tread softly – and happy reading.