Mourning Someone Through the Books They Leave Behind

Jim Henson reads

I originally read this article on May 31st, and then I just re-read it again and decided that I would link to it, and post about it here. I found it to be moving, and thoughtfully written, and it made me think. It might make you a bit sad to read it, but I think that’s okay. I felt a bit sad after reading it, but then I remembered some of the people in my life whose books I now have, and that made me happy.

Tom Rachman writes about how, after his sister died at the age of 39 from cancer, he went to empty out her apartment and faced all of the books that she had collected over the years. He writes, “Before me were pages into which she’d poured thousands of hours, from early childhood until a few months earlier. There were books with my inscriptions to her, others from a shared past that I now share with no one.

“If you crave books, covet them, slam them shut in outrage, then they accumulate around you, becoming rows of memories: an edition lent at the start of a passion, never returned at the end; a volume cautioning against peril, or luring you to it; a book whose characters were your allies, even if you rarely frequent them today. But at the sight of that particular copy, you remember.”

Rachman writes about how he found books with inscriptions in them, and found books that he remembered, and how all of this made him think of his sister and her life. I would encourage you to take a few minutes and read this article, and just have a few thoughtful moments to yourself.

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About centerforthereader

St. Louis Central Library, Center for the Reader, is where you can find fiction, reading suggestions, author information, and much more!
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