It would be possible for me to live forever in the pages of books.
As a child, I would devour books. Library books from the elementary schoolhouse library were meant to last a week. How am I supposed to read this one book for an entire week, I would often think to myself. I would take my newly borrowed book home and return the next day, finished and never satisfied. I wanted more.
I started reading above my grade level. The books were longer. It made sense. So I started the part of my book loving journey that included questionable and possibly inappropriate reading material. That is not to say that it could have anything outrageously adult. I was confined to my school library and our small town library, in a highly religious area. Still. There were books that were maybe not meant for the eyes of an elementary school student.
No one seemed to be noticing what I was reading. So I kept reading. And reading. And reading. When the lights would be turned out and the house started to settle, I would wait for my sisters to drift off to sleep. They were tattlers. I would bring my book into the bed and with the light from my alarm clock, pick up where I left off. Many a book saw the dim red light of the digital numbers as I moved the alarm clock across the pages.
Books shaped me. Books connected me to something bigger than myself. A lifeline to the heartbeat of the world.
My first job was at a bookstore. As a teenager, working in the mall was ideal. Books and malls. Perfect for a reader who was also a hopeless teenager. It was fitting for me to work with and around books. It felt like home. Bookstores, the few left, still feel like home.
My love affair with books was put on the shelf in recent years. Kids, husband, career, social media, life, it all took the time and space in my day. I didn’t make room for books. I was in a dark place in that regard. I would read sporadically but it was nothing like before.
The reader is back. I’m flying through books. I’m sharing books. I’m talking about books. I’m sending books as gifts. I’m once again, happily, obsessed with the art of the written word.
In a stunning move of bravery on my part, I have joined a book club with complete strangers. I signed up for the next meetup and read the entire book in a morning. I’m excited to discuss it with others who read it recently and I’m also a little terrified of the experience. That feels right. Putting myself out there for the love of books. Feels right, for me.
If you will excuse me now, I must be getting back to my books. They are calling me and I intend to answer the call the brings joy to my soul.