“When I realized it was a book, I knew it was from Mom.” Heard at the family Christmas party a couple years ago after my daughter opened her Grab Bag gift.
Books, to me, are the closest thing to sacred that any possession could be.
As a little girl, I remember a set of books from Disney that I read over and over – except for the boy stories, like Jungle Story and Robinson Crusoe, which just never appealed to me. Old Yeller was one of the stories I read only once. It was horrifying.
I ate up the Beverly Cleary books. I read the Bobsey Twins books that my aunt had left behind at my Grandmother's, the Nancy Drew Mysteries, the Trixie Belden series (wouldn't it be cool to be named Honey, like Trixie's best friend?) I also loved horses, so The Black Stallion series I scooped up in junior high. Standing in front of that book shelf that covered the south wall of our school library... the sense of pure pleasure is something I can recall 36 years later. I can picture the spines, recall the smell, and remember worlds impacted by none of my reality.
Then there was my high school library, and the public library of every town I've ever lived in. I always had a card. I love to sit at the tables surrounded by all that wealth. Some girls may feel that way in a jewelry store, or in the presence of designer clothes and bags. Some men may feel that way at a car show.
I even admired the text books I received the first day of school for history or English, not so much Science. As a teenager, I could never fall asleep at my bedtime. I would open my curtains and read book after book after book by the light of a street lamp 100 feet from my bedroom window. I can safely say that if this hurt my eyes, it didn't present symptoms for 30 years.
My family has its share of dysfunction, which I've come to understand in the Self Help section of my local book store. I had (have) the Pisces quality of struggling to finish what I start, until I read books on how people ALMOST succeed at almost everything but stop a step short. (This has caused an entirely different set of issues ,because I'm not always sure when to give up. Not everything I've “stuck with” has been a success story.)
So, when I say I love books... I mean it. When everyone in my family got Kindles, I felt personally responsible for saving books. Tangible paper with the occasional ink dot in the wrong place, fresh spines, beautifully soft paper that feel as soft as bedsheets or cheaper, coarse paper of paperbacks. The horror of waking to a world without books really scares me... and if the power goes out.. so do our Kindle “books.”
I have a collection of books that teach survival skills... and though I may never need them – I'll keep them, in case someone else needs them someday.
Books took me everywhere I've never gone.