I learned this sage advice in one of my college classes:
“When I have a little money, I buy books; and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes.”
― Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus
I imagined Erasmus tromping through the streets of Rotterdam, his arms heavy-laden with a stack of books, his robes splattered with mud, day-old bread pinned precariously under one elbow, and his familiar elusive smirk on his face. I had little doubt what he would allow to fall if he were to stumble.
Another quotation worth repeating is
“Your library is your paradise.”
― Desiderius Erasmus
Don't mistake me for being sacrilegious by repeating Eramsus' sentiment. Remember where books used to be housed before Gutenberg's invention of the printing press during the Renaissance? If not at universities in private libraries of the wealthy, then books were found at monasteries. Books in short supply, but increasing in demand created inflated prices only the rich could afford. Erasmus wasn't being flippant when he claimed that books could reduce his means for meeting basic needs. Although within his lifetime, a desire for increased knowledge, literacy, and reformed beliefs spread throughout Europe.
Not long ago, mobile libraries traveled across town squares and onto farmed acres bringing books to the less-fortunate in the United States. One of my recent book reviews mentioned The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek that tells about the first bookmobile in Kentucky during the Depression.
But, just as times require new means of publishing and providing books to the masses, the nature of my own personal paradise has changed over the years.
Taking all these historical accounts to heart, I've invested in my personal library. I'm more selective about which books I purchase in hardcovers and which ones I buy for Kindle. If it's a one-time read...Kindle. If it's a classic or literary treasure...hardcover. My goal is to replace my paperbacks with leather-bound copies over time. I suspect that libraries will become national treasures again because hardcover books will be collectibles.
As much as I enjoyed reading The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, I don't own a hard copy version. It is one of many books on my Kindle. Some day it may be one that I add as a hardcover version to my library shelf. Not far from my own published works, I hope. Such coveted space must be earned! Yet, it also must be shared. When all libraries become virtual, my door will be open for some future Erasmus seeking a timeless tome to treasure.