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read his story below:


The bookshop door chimes its tune, indicating someone is enbooking or disenbooking.

I peer over the stacks and see the head of a customer who is coming into the store. I hear panting. I walk around the counter to see who’s who. There she is, a petite woman who is lugging a complete set of 1950′s Childcraft encyclopedias all by herself.

The orange-bound hardbacks are printed on heavy, glossy paper and weigh a lot. This is a set even I would have trouble carrying far.

“Yikes! Let me take those,” I sputter, just in time to see her avoid passing out. She is relieved and I am happy to transfer the set to a neutral surface.

“Well, I could have gone to your car and helped with these,” I say, smiling a greeting. But she does not need to hear this, since the deed is done and she wishes to say her piece.

“I just want you to have these. I’m donating them.”

I thank her profusely and note that the volumes are in excellent condition.

“I will make sure that the right person receives these,” I say. I plan to donate them because I already have several sets of these wonderful tomes.

The donor is pleased, thanks me, and disenbooks the building.

I pat the stack fondly, recalling the hundreds of fleeting childhood hours I spent reading and poring over their contents, time-traveling and universe-traversing and imagining things that can’t really be.

I spend some of my time these days attempting to explain why books like these must never be tossed and ground into recycling fodder.

When the donating woman hands over her treasure, she does not say, “Would you please throw these in the trash for me?” She does not say, “I don’t need this crap, could you take it off my hands?” She does not say, “Oh, you don’t want these—nobody reads anymore and they are just in the way.”

But other people say such things to me all the time.

On lucky days I get to rescue what they are discarding. I get to give things to the next person or entity who wants them.

I get to book things forward for the next in line, the cherishers of wonderful old evidences of our fragile civilization.

I  return to my nest behind the prospering stacks.

I await the chiming to come



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