Quote: Minds alive on the shelves - djedwardson.com
minds alive on the shelves

Quote: Minds alive on the shelves

minds alive on the shelves

Time travel is one of those elusive treasures that is hard to get right in fiction, but when it works it can be amazing. But every book you have ever read is really a time travel book if you think about it. Because you are reading what someone thought in the past. Sometimes that person is not even alive anymore. We can go back ten, fifty, two hundred years in the past and read what someone was thinking.

And what do we call this miraculous phenomenon? A book. Humph. That single word fails to do justice to all that is contained within its storied pages. Pulp and ink and thought and experience are bound between those covers, transcending time and place, culture and laws. There does not exist a single word which can adequately describe all the marvelous, serendipitous, time-bending power contained within a single book.

“These are not books, lumps of lifeless paper, but minds alive on the shelves.”

—Gilbert Highet

So if you can read, savor the moment. Say a prayer of thanks. And pull one of these chronological latchkeys off the shelf and allow its narrative current to sweep you off into the past. Read like there’s no tomorrow. Because when you’re reading, there isn’t.

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Comments (5)

  1. Abbey August 13, 2016 at 1:18 am

    What a fabulous quote! (Though now I have a mental picture of a bunch of brains sitting on a bookshelf.)

  2. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt August 17, 2016 at 8:39 pm

    Me, too – thought of the heads in jars on Futurama.

    There is little satisfaction in the jarred heads or in the books – but I get a lot out of the books, and sometimes the heads also say something interesting. Especially Nixon’s.

    • DJ Edwardson August 18, 2016 at 11:19 am

      An interesting metaphysical question for you. Are the brain and the mind synonymous? Or is the mind something apart from the brain?

      Thanks for the comment and for stopping by!

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt August 18, 2016 at 1:55 pm

        Mine are.

        Seriously, if far greater researchers, psycologists, and theologians can’t figure it out, I sure can’t. I think I won’t have the same kind of mind if I’m dead – this one depends on me having a place to do the thinky bits – but I hope to have a mind in the afterlife, with or without body. Preferably with body, but without the problems the current one has.

        Metaphysical enough? You can’t really get into those without dragging your whole belief system along, as I just did. And nobody really knows.

        I don’t believe in communication back and forth from beyond the grave, so I’ll have to wait to find out.

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