I recently received several boxes of books that had once belonged to my father. He died around 10 years ago now and these books seem to be the last traces of his life left to touch my world in any material manner. I had the strangest sensation and revelation as I stood there and stared, hands on hips, at these boxes of books on my driveway. I realised that I, too, would very likely become just such a collection of unwanted books to someone else one day, the flotsam of a life’s interests and passions, the scattered Autumn leaves of fading memory.
I kept a couple of books of interest – something about Zen and Japanese Culture by D.T. Suzuki and a collection of poetry by Robert Frost – and donated the rest to charity. I wonder what world we will inhabit when there are no more books, when everything has been bootstrapped up into digital, virtual reality or electronic memory and when we no longer leave even paper trails of our once having passed through this place.