Susan's Thursday morning note January 20, 2011
The Master Violin by Myrtle Reed
Good morning!!! I thought we were buried last week, but here we go again!! Just remember – all warm drinks taste significantly better when the ground is covered with snow…so that is one reason why once in awhile we need the white blanket! Last week I wrote on grief bringing friendships together and adding depth and meaning to life. This week I want to write a different few paragraphs from the same treasure, The Master’s Violin by Myrtle Reed. This is for all of you that have had the privilege of being impacted by a particular book from your library…a book that you can picture that changed you, even if momentarily, took you from being overwhelmed with your reality to learning from an author who had already been where you are in the past.
Power, beauty, influence, comfort, friendship, motivation, imaginary travel from of books:
Ten years of browsing in a well equipped library will do much for anyone, and Iris had made the most of her opportunities. This girl of twenty, hemmed about by the narrow standards of East Lancaster, had a broad outlook upon life, a large view, that would have done credit to a woman of twice her age. From the beginning, the people of books had been real to her, and she had filled the old house with the fairy figures of romance.
Of the things that make for happiness, the love of books comes first. No matter how the world may have used us, sure solace lies there . The weary, toilsome day drags to its disheartening close, and both love and friendship have proved powerless to appreciate or understand, but in the quiet corner consolation can always be found. A single shelf, perhaps, suffices for one’s few treasures, but who shall say it is not enough?
A book, unlike any other friend, will wait, not only upon the hour, but upon the mood. It asks nothing and gives much, when one comes in the right way. The volumes stand in serried ranks at attention, listening eagerly, one may fancy, for the command.
Is your world a small one, made unendurable by a thousand petty cares? Are the heart and soul of you cast down by bitter disappointment? Would you leave it all, if only for an hour, and come back with a new point of view? Then open the covers of a book.
With this gentle comrade, you may journey to the very end of the world and even to the beginning of civilization. There is no land which you may not visit, from Arctic snows to the loftiest peaks of southern mountains. Gallant gentlemen will go with you and tell you how to appreciate what you see. Further still, there are excursions into the boundless regions of imagination, where the light of dreams has laid its surpassing beauty over all.
Would you wander in company with soldiers of Fortune, and share their wonderful adventures? Would you live in the time of the Crusades and undertake a pilgrimage in the name of the Cross? Would you smell the smoke of battle, hear the ring of steel, the rattle of musketry, and see the colors break into deathly beauty well in advance of the charge? Would you have for your friends a great company of noble men and women who have wrought and suffered and triumphed in the end? Would you find new courage, stronger faith, and serene hope? Then open the covers of a book, and presto – change!
Quotes for those that love books:
To distract myself from tiresome thoughts, I have only to resort to books; they easily draw my mind to themselves and away from other things. ~ Michel Montaigne
I have never known any distress that an hour’s reading did not relieve. ~ Charles De Secondat
I cannot think of a greater blessing than to die in one’s own bed, without warning or discomfort, on the last page of a new book that we most wanted to read. ~ Lord John Russell
I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library. ~ Jorge Luis Borges
Books are becoming everything to me. If I had at this moment any choice in life, I would bury myself in one of those immense libraries…and never pass a waking hour without a book before me. ~ Thomas B. Macaulay
Literature is my Utopia. ~ Helen Keller
Books are the windows through which the soul looks out. A home without books is like a room without windows. ~ Henry Ward Beecher.
A real book is not one that’s read, but one that reads us. ~ W. H. Auden
In books I have traveled, not only to other worlds, but into my own. I learned who I was and who I wanted to be, what I might aspire to, and what I might dare to dream about my world and myself. ~ Anna Quindlen
Read in order to live. ~ Gustave Flaubert
It is chiefly through books that we enjoy intercourse with superior minds…In the best books, great men talk to us, give us their most precious thoughts, and pour their souls into ours. ~ William Ellery Channing
I cannot live without books. ~ Thomas Jefferson
If I had to choose between a wall of paintings and a wall of books, I would certainly choose books. When you walk into a room of books, you’re embraced by them. ~ Timothy Mauson
Tell me what you read and I shall tell you what you are. ~ Anonymous Proverb
If the books which you read are your own, mark with a pen or pencil the most considerable things in them which you desire to remember. Then you may read that book the second time over with half the trouble, by your eye running over the paragraphs which your pencil has noted. It is but a very weak objection against this practice to say, “I shall spoil my book”; for I persuade myself that you did not buy it as a bookseller, to sell again for gain, but as a scholar, to improve your mind by it; and if the mind be improved, your advantage is abundant, through your book yields less money to your executors. ~ Isaac Watts, Logic On the Right use of Reason in the Enquiry after Truth (1724)
Have a great week – appreciate the winter months. The long evenings. Let this be a time we pull out a book and see if the one we’ve pulled is the one that takes us somewhere, that gives us new perspectives, that teaches us, that encourages us, that entertains us. Not very long ago books were scarce. Can we appreciate the treasure at our fingertips? Our choice the way we live our moments. Will we look only at our own circumstances and think we are the first and only ones to go through something? Or will we look outside of ourselves, pull a book, and find someone that can give us advice, encouragement, laughter, friendship. All in the bindings. I loved the line above on how a book will wait for us. Which books looking at us from our shelves are waiting, waiting for the opportune time to influence us? Thank you for letting me into your Thursday again…and thank you for your constant encouragement at the store and for your business. Have a great week…pull out one of your books. You’ll find a soul mate there. Susan
Latin for this week:
In libris libertas - In books (there is) freedom
Optimus magister, bonus liber - The best teacher is a good book
Reed, Myrtle. The Master's Violin. G.P. Putnam's Sons. New York. 1904.