Drabble 20 – Biblioclasm

Drabble 20 – Biblioclasm

Biblioclasm
The House of Leaves – Burning 4 by LeaningLark.

I am absolutely, undoubtedly, one-hundred percent devoted to books. I cherish my books. I buy new ones frequently. I buy multiple copies of the same book so that I can loan them or give them away to people I think will enjoy them.

That being said, I don’t think books are sacred. I mean that in the non-religious sense. I don’t personally enjoy reading on an e-reader, but that doesn’t mean it’s somehow not reading. I like audiobooks, and once had somebody ask me if it really counted as reading–maybe, maybe not, but when you consider that the oral tradition is our oldest form of storytelling, maybe things get a little more complicated.

When I buy a bad book (which I try not to do, but sometimes my romance novel whims get the better of me), sometimes I pass it on to Half Price Books for five cents. Sometimes I scribble on the pages. Sometimes I turn it into an art project or a blackout poem. I think the act of turning one art piece–and yes, trashy romance novels I don’t like are still art–into another is interesting, and I don’t feel guilty about destroying a mass-market paperback to make a new poem. Nor do I begrudge the person who took the above photo for destroying House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski, a book I very much enjoyed.

On a personal level, burning a book isn’t the worst thing that could ever happen. I oppose the censorship of books on a mass scale–with guidance, I’m one-hundred percent okay with kids reading advanced, tricky, and even objectionable material (within reason, obviously–we don’t need to hand out my trashy romance novels to third graders).

If you’re going to burn a book, okay. Burn one book. But don’t burn all the books–that’s where I start to have a problem.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

BIBLIOCLASM

(Noun: from Green biblion for book and klastós for broken)

The burning or destruction of books, especially the Bible.

The night was cold and dark and long, stretching far overhead into infinity. Frost bit at their exposed fingers and toes, creeping across the grass like mildew, held back only by the thin, wan flames of their fire.

“Throw another one on,” said a voice.

“Not yet,” said another, teeth chattering. “Please, not yet.”

“We’re freezing to death. Death is permanent. What’s the point of information if there’s no one left to process it?”

“I can’t,” said the second voice, pleading. “Please, not yet.”

But there was movement in the dark, and soon pages curled and browned in the flames.

3 comments

  1. I can’t believe someone said that audiobooks are not the same as reading. Visually impaired people benefit from that technology. It is interesting how petty people can get over something so simple. Books are to be enjoyed and everyone has a different way of enjoying them. I like your idea of buying books as gifts. I was specifically asked by people not to do that anymore and I do not buy them gifts, either. I think the mindset is the same for people who want to burn all books. Knowledge, and the acquisition of it, is cumbersome and they do not want to be bothered. I hope they stay in the minority. x

    • People will look for anything to be snobby about, including reading. If technology helps someone enjoy stories in any form, I’m all for it!

      If I buy a book without reading it first, I’ll usually end up buying a second, nicer copy later if I like it. The first copy becomes the one I loan out or give to people if I think they’ll really like it, and I get to greedily keep the first for myself!

      I think there will always be people who want to protect others – in their view, not in mine – from revolutionary ideas and dark truths. As you say, we have to hope that they stay in the minority.

      • Good thoughts, Melissa. Your generosity and wisdom are certainly what we need more of in this world of self absorbed ideals. My feeling is that exposure to controversial ideas help us to retain our values and norms, by illustrating how jarring the loss of them would be to our well being. Literature allows us to occupy those spaces vicariously. x

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