Almost all writers are also readers, though not all readers are necessarily writers. But writers, readers, or both, I think we can all agree that we are thankful for books.
I’ve been thinking about that a lot as we approach the fall holidays, particularly Thanksgiving and Christmas. One of the best emails I got last year during this season was from one of my readers who said, “I loved your book so much that I bought copies to give to all my friends and family for Christmas!” Of course, I only got one email like that and would have loved a whole pile of them, but it re-enforced my long-standing gratitude for books, a gratitude that began long before I ever published my first one.
Most of us are privileged to live in a time and place where we can easily and readily purchase a book whenever we please. It hasn’t always been so, and in some parts of the world even today, it still isn’t. Down through the centuries people have paid a great price for writing, printing, distributing, owning, or reading certain books. The Bible, of course, is at the top of that list. I, for one, have more copies of the Scriptures than I can count, and I imagine you do too. And I don’t have to hide them under the bed or in a hole in the backyard for fear of being arrested should the wrong person spot them and report me to the authorities. Still, can you imagine the different level of appreciation someone in that position would have for a book—the Bible or otherwise—than you and I might have, since we are able to own them so freely?
One of my favorite (and most read) books, second only to the Bible, is Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. I read at least one story from it nearly every day, and each time I do it moves me to pick up one of my Bibles and caress its cover, savoring the life-changing richness of its contents and whispering yet another prayer of thanks to its Author. So many have been imprisoned, tortured, even killed for daring to own just one page of this Book above all books, and here I have access to more versions and copies than I’ll ever need. Now, in addition to the many leather-bound copies on my bookshelf and on my desk, I also have copies on my Kindle. Do I truly realize how blessed I am to possess such treasures?
This year, as we progress through the fall season, especially Thanksgiving, may all of us who consider ourselves lovers of books take just a few extra moments to utter a prayer of thanks for the many books we are privileged to read each year, particularly the Holy Scriptures, authored by the King of Kings and autographed in His blood.