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.
(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.