Sometime around the fall of last year my two-person book club partner and I were finishing up reading John Green‘s essayed appraisals of the human-centered world called The Anthropocene Reviewed. And as we were gearing up to start reading Matt Haig‘s melancholically hopeful novel, The Midnight Library, I came across a blog post about a book called A Velocity of Being; a book containing a wide and sprawling collection of letters and original art created by what might be the most interesting amalgamation of people one could ever hope to come across. Writers, artists, musicians, poets, physicists, astronauts, entrepreneurs, and more, all coming together to share the redemption and salvation that books have the capacity to give to the human soul. I was wowed by the premise of the project, and moved by the beautiful symbiosis of image and word. I sent the article to my co-reader in arms, and a little over one week later she had bought a copy for herself and sent a second copy to me.
After we began reading, we were initiates newly committed to an apostles creed, meandering meticulously through each of the epistles with reverence and fervor. We were trailing at the heels of discovery and devotion. We were disciples covered in the dust of a rabbi’s motion. But most of all, we were together. We were together with one another, but we were also together with the choired mass of other voices who also found themselves within the sacred solidarity of books.
That’s exactly what books are. That’s precisely what they do. Books are the surest cure for loneliness; a communion of blessed fellowship that can cross the span of continents and collapse the constraints of time. Books are a kind of religion; a space of ultimate concern, the gift of what grows from the nutrient-dense ground of our being. And, reading is a form of faith; a faith in the fact that we are never alone, that we when we read we are always and at all times reading together.