I have this beautiful old book. It is hardbound, 500 pages thick, and has the potential to provide me with hundreds or even thousands of hours of learning and pleasure.
Titled Spanish – A Basic Course, and published in 1971, this is not the kind of textbook you are likely to find in bookstores today. It is too old-fashioned, too academic. I bought it last year at a flea market. It was sitting in a box full of books that looked as though they had been packed at least 20 years ago.
There is something sad about an old, discarded book. You look at it and think about all the time its author and publisher spent producing it. All those hours of careful thinking and critical revisions and the selection of typefaces and fonts and illustrations. If this particular book has been neglected and unread, what about all its siblings, all the other copies that were printed with such hope and good intentions? Are they also collecting dust? Have they too been disconnected from their purpose?