I was reading the rest of the chapter on the Italian Renaissance to Ben and it touched briefly on the bonfire of the vanities. "Men and women tossed jewelry and expensive clothing, even paintings and books, into the roaring blaze, which is remembered as the 'bonfire of the vanities'." I moved on the section about the Renaissance moving from Florence to Rome when I heard a funny hiccup. I looked up to see Ben sitting at his seat, pale as a sheet, with his lip trembling and tears pouring down his face.
I immediately responded, "Ben, what's wrong?"
"They burned BOOKS? How could they burn books? Why would anyone burn a book?"
We had a very long discussion about how not everyone thinks that knowledge is a good thing. Then he asked, "But couldn't they have just shipped the books somewhere else where they liked books?" This lead to an interesting discussion about imposing your ideas on others.
Needless to say our history discussion took quite a detour today.
What struck me the most was how visually Ben listens. He was staring into middle space as he was crying as if he saw the books being burned. Later on, as I was making lunch, he looked over at the cookbooks in the kitchen, sighed, and said quietly to himself... "Imagine all of these books gone... how sad.."