At the Black Gate

I’m a day behind, unfortunately. Nevertheless, booklovers might be interested in my belated post there today, as I wrote about an online tool that I’ve found to be useful for locating hard-to-find books.

I am firmly of the opinion that a family library is one of the most important contributions one can make to one’s own education as well as the education of one’s family throughout the years. My autodidacticism was far less influenced by the books I was encouraged to read by my father as a teenager than it was by the relatively few, but high-quality sets of children’s books acquired by my mother. Those books were responsible for my acquaintance with everything from Plato and Demosthenes to Roland and Oliver, Coleridge, the Kalevala, and the Chronicle of the Cid. I particularly remember the oversized hardbacks in a series that included Robin Hood, The Virginian, and my favorite, The Tales of Paul Bunyan.

I was the beneficiary of an expensive private education from the seventh-grade through university. And yet, I can testify that the return on my parent’s investment was far, far greater on those thirty or forty books to which I was exposed in my childhood than it was on the much larger one they made in my formal, credentialed education.