I was reading Nicholas Basbanes’ A Gentle Madness this weekend when one quote struck a chord. Given the tumultuous political scene the past few months and given the uncertainty of the next few years, this quote from a book collector living through the Great Depression gave me a little hope.
Basbanes was quoting Paul Jordan-Smith, a bibliophile from California, who wrote in 1933:
“This is no time for the collector to quit his books. He may have to quit his house, abandon his trip to Europe and give away his car; but his books are patiently waiting to yield their comfort and provoke him to mirth. They will tell him that banks and civilizations have smashed before; governments have been on the rocks, and men have been fools in all ages. But it is all very funny. The gods laugh to see such sport, and why should we not join them?”