As far back as I can remember, I have loved books. My earliest memories include daily visits to the library, as we were very fortunate to live less than a block away and that’s where you could find me most days after school. The library was the most amazing place — within minutes I could be lost in a fairy tale, or frozen with bated breath as I unearthed the secrets of an exciting mystery. A humorous book would dissolve all my worries and leave me in a giddy mood, and a National Geographic could keep me dreaming of far away places long after I went home.
I loved to read and I loved to write. In 7th grade, I wrote a very popular and humorous “Dear Gabby” column for my classmates while being very careful not to let the nuns at my private school discover my creative outlet. About this time, I also wrote my first short story. An abandoned house seriously compromised by overgrown weeds and grasses, broken windows, and what appeared to be splattered blood inside, provided the fodder for my vivid imagination. The only genre I shied away from was science fiction — not sure why, but I’ve always preferred my fiction to be realistic.
It certainly warmed my heart to share my love of reading with my own children, as well as the kids in my daycare. More than once we were awarded a certificate for being the most well-behaved, and most enjoyable group to frequent the library on a weekly basis. Later, as I homeschooled Brianna, together we were to publish an award-winning on-line website, “Name THAT Book!” We invited our readers to try to guess the title and author, from the books’ passages we chose. Oh, what fun that was!
As an adult I have belonged to book clubs and enjoyed sharing my thoughts and personal reviews with others but I have never enjoyed the explanatory breakdown of a book. It always seemed to me to be a literary execution which quickly destroyed all leisure enjoyment. I am pleased to read for nothing more than my own enjoyment, curiosity, and enlightenment.
Whereas I still read, there is a growing trend towards electronic books (e-books). My vote is still out on this one. I must say, I love the portability. Whether stored in a computer, iPad or Kindle reading device, you can easily travel with hundreds of books at a time! How utterly amazing! E-books allow you to set bookmarks (putting an end to my horrid habit of bending page corners), easily look up the definition of unfamiliar words. and insert comments (without permanently defiling the book). Depending on the piece of technology you are using to access the books, you can even order new electronic books, downloading them on the spot! No need to physically visit the library or book store. No waiting list. No overdue charges!
So what’s NOT to like? Well, it’s kind of what I envision it would be like, if scientists ever invented pills to replace foods. The pill might taste like chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting but so much would be missing — the physical presence that both teases and delights the eyes and nose, the texture that swirls around captivating your salivary gland. And off course, there is also the social aspect — foods are often shared or eaten in the presence of other food lovers. Eating alone if very different and, in my opinion, not nearly as satisfying.
And so it is with books.