This post was first sent to my newsletter on January 19, 2023.
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Art by Ricardo Siri

Some books are toolkits you take up to fix things, from the most practical to the most mysterious, from your house to your heart, or to make things, from cakes to ships.
Some books are wings.
Some are horses that run away with you.
Some are parties to which you are invited full of friends who are there even when you have no friends.
In some books you meet one remarkable person; in others a whole group or even a culture.
Some books are medicine, bitter but clarifying.
Some books are puzzles, mazes, tangles, jungles.
Some long books are journeys, and at the end you are not the same person you were at the beginning.
Some are handheld lights you can shine on almost anything.

I piled the books around me for protection and withdrew inside their battlements, building a tower in which I escaped my unhappy circumstances.
There I lived for many years, in love with books, taking refuge in books, learning from books a strange data-rich out-of-date version of what it means to be human.

Rebecca Solnit
from Maria Popova’s, A Velocity of Being

Read the whole letter, along with Maria’s1 annotations.

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  1. brilliant, as usual ↩︎