A literary funeral pyre?

Here’s an idea. To protest the decline in reading – both in numbers of book stores, books purchased, and a general neglecting of literature and other forms of reading – we should just burn our books.

It might be the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. But someone is doing it.

From Yahoo News:

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tom Wayne amassed thousands of books in a warehouse during the 10 years he has run his used book store, Prospero’s Books. His collection ranges from best sellers like Tom Clancy’s “The Hunt for Red October” and Tom Wolfe’s “Bonfire of the Vanities,” to obscure titles like a bound report from the Fourth Pan-American Conference held in Buenos Aires in 1910.

But wanting to thin out his collection, he found he couldn’t even give away books to libraries or thrift shops, which said they were full. So on Sunday, Wayne began burning his books protest what he sees as society’s diminishing support for the printed word.

“This is the funeral pyre for thought in America today,” Wayne told spectators outside his bookstore as he lit the first batch of books.

Considering people are running down to purchase last minute deals – or possibly to save the books that are being burned, it might be one of the smartest ideas as well.

Still, it’s all a little 451ish to me – burning books to protest not reading them? It seems contrary to the cause, ironic in a stupid kind of way.

I don’t like it. But, then again, I read. So I’m not the target. I’m not supposed to like it. I value books. And I’m sure this guy does too. He’s just making a point.

(From The Powell’s Book Blog)

This was lovingly handwritten on May 29th, 2007