The Autobiography of a Library Book (Essay)

By | January 2, 2019

“A popular library book is our friend whom we miss when we can’t find him nearby.”

Whoever looks at me in my present condition in this ramshackle (badly made and needing repair) second-hand bookshop cannot think of (imagine) my bright past. I have stayed with princes and warriors, students and tourists, scholars and scientists and a host of (large number of) boys and girls visiting the biggest public library of the city.

It was somewhere at the end of the 20th century that the public library brought me with hundreds of other books from different bookshops of Lahore, Karachi and Rawalpindi. My title “The Stories of Our Society” by zrk, (the writer of the present book) attracted the attention of everybody as it was appealingly designed with striking words at the bottom

“A Mirror to See Your Face in.”

[the_ad id=”17141″]What an experience was it for me to have myself read by a prince coming from Sharjah who was studying in a university? He borrowed me, and then a few days later took me to the United Arab Emirates. It was an unthinkable pleasure to stay with him in the royal palace where he read me every night before going to sleep. When he read the essay, “Why Are We Backward?” he almost wept to compare the condition of eastern countries with western countries. He flew to America in his vacation, and he continued to read me in Washington, Chicago and New Jersey. When he went across Europe in a car, he read me at different hotels. Once he read me aloud to a few friends of his who enjoyed the articles, “The Politicians of my Land,” “The Thugs of Asia” and “The Pure Wives.”

After the prince returned me to the library, a military major borrowed me who took me to the northern areas on his exercises. He read the articles “The Charms of Wars” and “Forms of Corruption” with special interest. After his exercises, he read me almost regularly. Some other army officers enjoyed the major’s comments on me, and I felt important in my own eyes. I found how busy and interesting a military officer’s life is as I continued watching his daily activities from his barracks where I lay.

Several students of different colleges borrowed me one after another. One of them, at last, got so much fond of me that he got me for future reading in Photostat form. Another took notes from my pages. Yet another decided to buy another copy of mine. I found myself with other books of a student when he was discussing me with his teacher and friends. They all agreed that society could see its ugly face in its various shapes and forms in me and that I was a true mirror.

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