I am so excited. A list of books I’ve been anxious to get finally arrived yesterday. Some were hard to find, some out of print. But I got them, and started immediately reading Journey Toward Justice, the biography of Juliette Hampton Morgan. I’ve been waiting for ages to sit down with this book. Get acquainted. See how we like each other. Find out if we’re going to be best friends.
Is that nerdy? Is is merely strange, or does it slip into the category of truly weird, that I think of books as companions, friends with whom I have relationships?
Let’s look at what I get from the relationship. A good book stimulates my thinking, makes me wonder and question, makes me want to know more. A good book can thrill me, as no long time friend whose quirks and habits become punch lines can. Old friends know each other too well, sometimes. On the other hand, I never get tired of my books.
I’d have to say yes, this leans toward the silly and ridiculous, thinking of books as my closest friends. Books don’t disappoint, and they don’t criticize. Wait, I take that back. There have been books that made me uncomfortable, made me re-evaluate my positions on things, that forced me to change my mind. Books have taught me a lot, come to think of it.
Books, I have often said, dramatically, can change people’s lives. Books certainly fill my life.
So why does a biography of a somewhat obscure and minor player in the civil rights movement exite me so much I feel like Christmas has come early? Because I am fascinated with her, this timid librarian, this person who really remained on the edges of the movement, who did not march or protest, who never stood with the ones who did, except in her own limited way. She took her own life, and there are those who count Morgan as a martyr to the cause, as much as any who were murdered for it. I want to know why.
Books can tell me why.