Magical is the right word

Raj and Plus Ultra quotes from a non-Holmes book of Arthur Conan Doyle which seems to contain some wonderful sentences:

Surely there would be something eerie about a line of books were it not that familiarity has deadened our sense of it. Each is a mummified soul embalmed in cere-cloth and natron of leather and printer’s ink. Each cover of a true book enfolds the concentrated essence of a man. The personalities of the writers have faded into the thinnest shadows, as their bodies into impalpable dust, yet here are their very spirits at your command.

Some of the description in the quote reminded me of a favourite quote of my father’s from a poem of Robert Southey:

My never-failing friends are they,
With whom I converse day by day.

If the eeriness of the books is something about which I have wondered occasionally, the other quote of Raj from the same essay hits closer home:

A book should be your very own before you can really get the taste of it, and unless you have worked for it, you will never have the true inward pride of possession.

Needless to say, I am looking forward to owning a personal copy of Through the magic door.

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