Archive for the ‘Books’ Tag

Novel Puns   Leave a comment

  1. Dashiell had difficulty not trying to Hammett up.
  2. The Communist novelist was well read.
  3. A new work of fiction is a novel idea.
  4. Did Theodore Dreiser let music Carrie him away?
  5. If Jane were a spy, would she be Austen Powers?

Education Puns   Leave a comment

  1. Boring geometry teachers are really square.
  2. The well-educated artist was a collage graduate.
  3. When Tacitus wandered, he as a roamin’ historian.  I guess that a coin he may have used was a Latin Quarter.
  4. Are seminarians and students of optometry called pupils?
  5. Where do ghost teachers train?  Paranormal Schools!
  6. Where does a one-eyed man look up information?  An En-cyclop-edia!
  7. Did you hear the story about the stolen school books?  It was a textbook case.

In Praise of Books   Leave a comment

Above:  Five of My Books, August 3, 2017

Photograph by Kenneth Randolph Taylor


I come from a bookish family.  I recall the old family house in Summerville, Georgia, before my grandmother Taylor died, the structure stood vacant, and vandals burgled it (oddly, without any of the neighbors noticing).  I remember opening closets and finding bookshelves (full of books, of course) built into them.  My love of books is learned.

I, as a one trained in history, harbor strong suspicions of technology without resorting to joining the ranks of Luddites.  Technology provides tools, many of which I find useful.  Other tools, however, do not interest me.  Some of them are counter-productive.  A printed and bound book is, under the proper circumstances, of more value for a longer period of time than any electronic version of a book.  The former certainly requires less technology–such as glasses and a lamp, perhaps–to access it.  Although the Internet is a wonderful resource for reference purposes, when one knows how to use it properly, I prefer reference works when possible.

I notice that many of my students–some of them, by their own admission, not avid readers–seem oblivious to the presence of books as sources for their essays.  It is their loss.  They do not understand the pleasures of holding an old book and smelling the pages or admiring its design.  These students are, to borrow a term, digital natives.  They are not always adept at interpreting information well, analyzing sources properly, and appreciating the riches of well-edited reference works.  I still swear by my sets of Americanas (1962) and Britannicas (1968), encyclopedias more detailed in certain ways than any Internet resources I have found.

Furthermore, despite the digitization of many volumes at websites such as, an invaluable resource, not everything is there.  And, even when a particular book is there, a hard copy is superior and certainly easier on one’s eyeballs.  The physical book is also tactile; that is a virtue.

Books are superior to the alternatives.