Because I love books and love to read I have this quote from Rabelais’s Gargantua & Pantagruel hanging over my desk:
The philosophers, preachers, and doctors of your world feed you with fine words through the ears. Here we literally take our teachings orally, through the mouth. Therefore I do not say to you: Read this chapter, understand this gloss. What I say is: Taste this chapter, swallow this gloss. Once upon a time an ancient prophet of the Jewish nation swallowed a book and became a learned man to the teeth. Now you must immediately drink this, and you’ll be learned to the liver. Here, open your jaws.
I love the idea that books are food for the mind–as opposed to fish, which I was told when I was a kid is good brain food, in spite of the mercury, but that’s another story. The idea of books as food for the mind seems to be the inspiration for the International Edible Book Festival, usually held on April 1st or 2nd. Here are some of the tasty selections from yesterday’s event at Vanderbilt University Library: