Bernard Lewis on Owning Books

“At an early age I made an important discovery: that the pleasure of reading a book could be greatly increased and renewed at will if one actually owned it. To begin with, one could choose the time and place of reading the book, unconstrained by the need to return it to a library or other lawful owner. While reading, appreciation of any particular passage is enhanced by the comfortable awareness that it will always be there–the same words, the same lines, the same pages–whenever one might choose to return to it. And even when not actually reading the book, merely looking at it on the shelf evokes that special pleasure which one derives from the ownership of some beautiful and cherished object.”–Bernard Lewis, Notes on a Century: Reflections of a Middle East Historian

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