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Cory Doctorow on society’s bibliophilia :

After years of writing and talking and thinking about books, I’ve come to a simple but important realization: I love books. Not just reading them or owning them—I have a deeply sentimental attachment to the very idea of the book.

And it’s not just me. It’s social. It’s across our entire society. If you’re making a short film, and you want to illustrate a society that’s falling into tyranny, you can just cut away to a scene of a pile of books burning, and everyone will know exactly what you meant. If you want to indicate that a character in a book is very sympathetic, and you mention how much she loves reading and going to the library, then your readers will immediately show sympathy for her. Books have this penumbra of virtues, they ooze virtue, and it’s long beyond anything rational or reasonable, because all of you who are people of the book know that there are many books that are absolutely unworthy of that virtue, and yet—and yet—when I worked in a bookstore and had to strip paperbacks to send them back, it was painful to tear the covers off of books. I can barely bring myself to recycle the phone book every year.


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