Last week, Bill received a courtesy copy of a book from the Yale University Press. Tucked inside its pages was a grey bookmark with a legend in black script running down its length.
We took the bookmark out of the book and attached it to the front of the refrigerator with a bright red magnet, because we seem always to be opening the refrigerator and what the bookmark says grows more important for us with each day we grow older:
The world of books is the most remarkable creation of man. Nothing else that he builds ever lasts. Monuments fall; nations perish; civilizations grow old and die out; and, after an era of darkness, new races build others.
But in the world of books are volumes that have seen this happen again and again, and yet live on, still young, still as fresh as the day they were written, still telling men’s hearts of the hearts of men centuries dead. [Italics mine]
— Clarence Day, Jr. (The Story of the Yale University Press as told by a Friend © 1920)
It’s good to be reminded that even though friends leave, and friends die, books never do.
I just read in Gore Vidal’s Burr that on the table beside the bed when Aaron Burr died at eighty were his spectacles and an open copy of Tristram Shandy.
Books are your friends till the end.