As I wrote earlier about Patience and Fortitude, the very famous Lions at the New York Public Library, I thought about a book by Nicholas Basbanes entitled The Splendour of Letters. An unapologetic bibliophile, Mr. Basbanes takes on the subject of libraries, culture and the significant role that books, reading and knowledge play in the health of society in this final book in a trilogy that included another volume entitled Patience and Fortitude.
Some of the stories are heartbreaking...
the purposeful destruction of irreplaceable antiquities in Afghanistan, the burning of libraries in Bosnia, Louvain, Sarajevo, Cambodia, Tibet and during the Division of Poland, and the stories of holocaust victims who attempted to restore their written heritage by burying diaries in empty milk cans buried under their concentration camp floors.
Basbanes is a master of the written word, with an astounding vocabulary, and a concise grasp of knowledge, culture, and the ever-present and malicious threats of destruction.
As a new "non-student', two books I am adding to my summer reading list are the other two volumes in this trilogy.