MY BEST FRIEND

I imagine that you think I am going to speak about the friend I have had for more than twenty years and with whom I spend most of my time. Or that I am going to speak about a childhood friend with whom I was raised. Or of this office colleague who does not stop inviting me to his house to have a drink.

Well, no. this friend is THE BOOK

Oh yes, it is about my book.

For is there someone or something more honest, more reliable, respectful than a book.

I can confirm this with a word of Amos Oz who said in his way, that with time, books can change at least as well as humans, with this difference that men sooner or later will dump you as soon as they do not find in you a profit, a pleasure, an interest or a feeling, whereas books never let you down.

It remains that like Oz, I grew up surrounded by books, making myself invisible friends in pages that fell into dust and whose odor I still wear in my hands. So when all is black around you, what better than read a book to discover another world and escape everyday life that is too often cruel. And I can add that it is in books that I learned that love like disease can prevent you from eating and sleeping. Just to read what is on the next page can stop all other behaviors.

In fact, what is a book if not an assemblage of printed sheets forming a volume.Yes, there are good books and bad books. There are books of images, grammar, poetry. There is a mass book market as well as a holy books market. If there were no books how would we learn about Shakespeare or Euripides or Neil Simon and their plays?

And yet throughout the ages, books have been burnt for they offended a certain class of individuals. Libraries have banned books based on someone’s individual standard of morality, and the Catholic Index tells what books should not be read, some of which others consider great literature. It was precisely the case of the Talmud, a book of wisdom produced by scholars of the Jewish torah. It becomes the place where we consign information, whether legal or commercial. We do say that what comes from books is a bookish knowledge. Finally, every museum has its golden book, right?

To name Plato, books give a soul to the universe, wings to the spirit, a fly to the imagination and especially a life to all. The Ecclesiastes confirmed that in making many books, there is no end and that too much study is a lassitude of the flesh.

A famous word of our dear Umberto Eco comes to me: a book is like a spoon, scissors, a hammer, a wheel. Once invented, it cannot be improved.
So it is that this book I carry  it with me wherever I go, it is faithful and follows me everywhere. I have this odd habit to underline passages I like, to write on the sides my reflections, to circle the word that I don't know, to go later find its meaning .This book at times becomes  my confidant, a repository of my own feelings. It retains them and protects them. When all goes bad, the book becomes my emotional outlet.

The book is not jealous . Often, before I finish it, I put it aside and take another and a bit later another one. Yes, I often read more than one book at a time. Sometimes as a function of my mood, I prefer one book over the other, but I respect them all. I come back and do not abandon them. That’s what friends do.

What stays with me, perhaps for many of us, is a childhood memory. My parents would read to me when putting me to bed. I did not understand everything, but just seeing this book in the hands of my parent taught me that books were my friend