For the Love of Books
"Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination and the journey. They are home." Anna Quindlen
I have loved books for as long as I can remember. One of my earliest and fondest of memories is sitting in my Grandmother's lap while she read me book after book. It was often the same book ad nauseam, but she read them to me anytime I asked. While she has now passed on, I still think of her and The Little Skater and it brings joy to my heart. As I learned to read on my own, I was blessed further by my mother's love for reading. She allowed me to purchase books at every school book sale, took me to the library and was happy to give me Christmas and birthday gifts that sparked my love to read. I can remember as a family going to a shopping center and spending extended amounts of time entertaining myself browsing in a bookstore (remember those rapidly disappearing retail establishments).
I treasured my personal library: from the "Little House" books, to the Narnia series, to my complete collection of the Trixie Belden mysteries. Just writing this essay makes me want to read them all again. Books had the power of taking me to another world, sparking my imagination, and entertaining me for hours on end. Reading was such an integral part of my life growing up, that it baffled me (still does actually) when I met anyone who did not like to read. I recognize how valuable my family's influence was in this regard and am incredibly grateful. I am one example of how reading to and with a child can impact the rest of their lives.
In our age of technology, I have been tempted by the lure of having a hundred books on an e-book reader. I admit the convenience is fantastic, but my heart is just not in it. There is something about holding a book in my hands, smelling the pages and feeling the paper that makes the experience more meaningful. Having said that, I have found space for audio books. There is nothing like a great story to make a long car ride more tolerable. I have actually driven out of my way on occasion to finish a chapter. To this day, I get great joy either strolling through my local library, pursuing one of the few brick and mortar bookstores in my hometown, or while on vacation visiting my favorite Shakespeare and Company to pick up my "book souvenir". Downside, there are usually several books on my nightstand just waiting to be read, or I am reading more than one at a time.
Today as a minimalist, my collection of books is greatly reduced from the bookshelves full of books I owned just years ago. I now keep the books I truly treasure and pass the others along. Books for me are now an experience to be shared and typically if I really want to read a book again, I can locate it somewhere. Reading, whether a novel or non-fiction book, as an adult helps me to reduce stress, stay informed, and generally helps me to stay more mindful. It is frequently the perfect combination of travel, entertainment, and education all rolled up into one package. In this my year of trying to live more simply, I am committed to spending more time wrapped up in a book.
In my May Newsletter, I am going to highlight a number of the books that have recently added great value to my life, and I will be giving one book to the first interested reader. So stay posted in the next week or so for my recommendations! If you are like so many who have never learned to love reading, I cannot encourage you enough to seek out something that interests and/or inspires you. Of course there is no guarantee you will love to read, but just maybe your interest will be sparked.