The library of requirement

Clutching a physical book, like holding someone’s hand, tenders its own special sensations.*
(Diane Ackerwood)

The very nature of the universe invites you to a journey and to discover it.**
(John O’Donohue)

I only really began reading at the age of thirty eight. Previously I’d managed to get through a few books a year but in 1998, something significant happened in my life and I knew I would have to read more to make the most of it.

In her letter to young readers, one of the many in Maria Popova and Claudia Bedrick’s wonderful tome of text and picture, Dianne Ackerman writes of her love for books:

I love the comforting weight of a book, and the way your finger’s skim across the creamy puddles of its pages, one after another, following the darting minnows of words. You can stroll through a book’s compact, neatly bound world, hold it open in both hands, and stare thoughtfully into its face, then close it and see it whole.*

There are now many books that are sacred to me, holy scriptures that have helped and guided me to arrive in this moment, which is a moment of possibility:

This is now what matters, your readers. The moment we’re living in is what counts – how will this moment, the stories we’re living inside of, change us … forever?^

Scriptures as in writings that come to us from others.

Sacred as in setting me aside to live the life only I can live, and for you to live the life you must.

Holy in terms of the best things we can live for, such as love:

Love is the thing that pushes us to succeed. Love is a thing that we have to feel for ourselves, for our family, for our friends, for our partners. Love is what we want to come home to, but it’s also what we want to come in to in the morning. We need love everywhere. And that’s the whole point. We’re building a system with love inside.^^

Sometimes these scriptures are entire books, sometimes only an excerpt, but we know they are are holy scriptures because of what they open for us; they are our library of requirement:

No matter where life takes you, you’re never alone with a book, which becomes a tutor, a wit, a mind-sharpener, a soulmate, a performer, a sage, a verbal bouquet for a loved on.*

These libraries are always growing, opening adjacent possibilities, constantly a garden of forking paths:

The “adjacent possible” is theoretical biologist Stuart Kauffman’s wonderful term for all the myriad paths unlocked by every novel discovery, the multitude of universes hidden in something as simple as an idea.*^

Read on.

(*Diane Ackerwood’s letter to young readers, from Maria Popova and Claudia Bedrick’s A Velocity of Being.)
(**From John O’Donohue’s Eternal Echoes.)
(^Jacqueline Woodson’s letter to young readers, from Maria Popova and Claudia Bedrick’s A Velocity of Being.)
(^^From gapingvoid’s blog: Love is the mission.)
(*^From Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler’s Bold.)

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