On the Inheritance series (Eragon)

Introduction: Secrets of the Dragon Riders

Drawing Out the Dragons

By James A. Owen

When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes.

–ERASMUS

That quote by Desiderus Erasmus is usually mentioned, wryly, by someone who doesn’t share Erasmus’ point of view about someone who does. I’m so far in the latter category I can’t even see the other side. I am utterly addicted to print, and am physically incapable of passing a newsstand, bookstore, or secondhand shop without giving the books on display at least a cursory glance. More often than not (which means practically every single time) I make some kind of a purchase, and for a moment that new book might as well have been under a Christmas tree for all the love I foster on it.

To a lot of people, it might seem as if my priorities are a bit skewed–but I’m really just engaging in something as old as humanity itself: I’m searching for connections to everything and everyone around me. And buying books is the best way I know to do that because books, and more precisely stories, are as important and vital and essential as food and clothes–and I’m not entirely convinced about the clothes.

Stories are what bind us together as families, and communities, and cultures. Stories are what connect us to our past, anchor us in our present, and lay the groundwork for the future. Stories are how we communicate understanding to one another both literally and through metaphor. And as one essayist in this  …

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