They offer consolation, wisdom, company of a kind, but they’re really not interested in you.
For there to be a conversation – a dialogue – there have to be at least two active participants. That’s company. A book is not company. We engage with it, argue with it, carry it around in our pockets and minds, are haunted by memories of it for years. But it doesn’t argue back, doesn’t engage, never inquires how our day has been, gives only what it wishes. Books are selfish. Everything, every word, is on their terms.
That’s what I like about them.