“Books are a uniquely portable magic.” -Stephen King
As a kid, learning to read was one of the best things that ever happened to me. A good book became an immediate best friend, making it easier to deal with a difficult childhood. Books offered an escape when real life became too much and they offered friends when I struggled to make any on my own.
“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” – Charles William Eliot
One of my fondest memories of books is when we moved to Kentucky. I was in the fourth grade, new and afraid, and I didn’t know anyone. Then one day a vehicle rolled into the neighborhood that changed my world. It was a bookmobile. I had no idea such a thing existed and I was over the moon!
I can recall the feeling of walking into that incredible rolling library and seeing nothing but books from stem to stern! Stories of all kinds waited for me, ready to take me to places I’ve never been. I remember how it made me feel to know my summer would not be as lonely as I’d first expected.
As I entered the bookmobile little did I know the best was yet to come. I was told I could check out as many books as I wanted, or more accurately as many as I could carry, and keep them for three weeks. Jackpot! It was like Christmas in July! It only took my first experience on the bookmobile for me to realize I needed to bring a BIG bag next time so I could fill it to the brim with books.
One of the first books I read from the bookmobile was Charlotte’s Web and it still holds a special place in my heart. So many books followed and each one brought a new world with new adventures, new characters and the kind of excitement a little girl couldn’t find in the real world.
“Many people, myself among them, feel better at the mere sight of a book.” – Jane Smiley
It is now a few decades later and even though technology has given us apps to read from, I still love the feel of a book in my hands. I’m one of those readers that feels a slight panic if I don’t have several books waiting in the wings for when I’m finished consuming whatever book I currently have my nose stuck in.
You kindred spirit readers out there know what I mean when I say that books are thieves. They steal time. You sit down for a chapter or two and the next thing you know an hour or three has disappeared. And let’s not forget the lack of sleep caused by books. It’s not unusual for me to stay up at night to “read for a few minutes” only to look up and realize it’s 1:00 am. But it is so worth it.
In a world full of noise, books offer a quiet refuge. Words on a page act as shade from the glare of a life that can be far too loud and overwhelming. For many, many of us, reading isn’t just fundamental, it’s as necessary as the air we breathe.