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Posts Tagged ‘love of reading’

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My hands are full.  I struggle to fit the key in the lock, turn the door knob that always sticks, and shoo the cat out of the way before he gets outside.  It’s freezing outside though, I don’t know why he would even want to go out there but there’s no convincing him.  I throw my purse on the bench, manage to get my keys on their designated hook on the key rack and slide my feet out of my boots.

I gently set down the reusable bag that functions as my library bag.  My purse I can throw; these books are important.

There are probably 10 or 12 books in the bag and if you asked me off the top of my head, I can probably name two or three.  Not a great number considering I only checked them out 15 minutes ago, glancing at them quickly as I slid them through the automated machine, stuffed them in the bag and hastily grabbed my check out receipt. I will make time to look at them later, when the house is quiet and my brain has settled, I will sit down in the middle of the floor with my bag and I will slowly take them out one by one, deciding which to read first, and second, and third.

This is my ritual.

Ten or 12 books is a pretty standard haul for me from the library.  At any given time I probably have 50 books on the hold list and at least two bags stuffed with books in various locations around my house.

Some people are addicted to shoes, some to purses, some to music.

Me?

I’m addicted to the library.

I justify it by telling myself that there are a lot worse things to be addicted to.  I mean really, I’m addicted to reading, how can that be a bad thing?  And I’m addicted to reading at a place where everything is free.  In my view there really is no downside.

I love everything about the library. I love the way it smells. I love the fact that it’s so quiet. I love the way I can get lost in the shelves, seemingly alone in the world.  I love the way I can walk through the doors and randomly decide that I want to learn about some topic like knitting or kayaking or how to make paper airplanes and there will be books about all of those things. Lots and lots and lots of books; just waiting for me to pull them off the shelf, run them through the scanner, tuck them in my little bag and take them home with me.

Some people have issues with library books; they don’t like the fact that other people have read them.

I have an issue with people who have issues with things like that.

I personally love the fact that other people have read the books. When I’m flipping through the pages I try to imagine the people who have done the same thing, flipping through those exact same pages. What were they hoping to find in these words? Did they find them? Did this book change their lives?  Did they cry at the same parts I did?  Did they slam it closed and throw it into the chair beside them in disgust, as I did?

One of my favourite things is when people leave things between the pages, little clues about who they are.  One time I found an invitation to a party tucked between the pages. The party was for a date months before and I wondered if they ended up going.  Did they have a good time?  Did they look through their purse for weeks wondering what they did with the invitation?  Did they have to call someone to get the address because they couldn’t find it?

Sometimes I find pictures.  Sometimes it’s little notes, grocery lists, a phone number jotted down on a square ripped from a newspaper, a piece of ribbon, a drawing from a child; the tiny scraps that make up someone’s life.

Quite often I find the check out receipts from when the book was taken from the library.  These are one of my favourite things to find because I love nothing more than to see what other people are reading.  I’ve gotten many great reading recommendations from people I will never know, just by seeing what else they checked out of the library.

One day technology may surpass the library.  Maybe it’s going to be all about the e-books and the e-readers and e this and e that, but I for one, certainly hope not. Because there’s something so special about sharing a book, even if it’s with people you don’t know. The communal idea of many hands holding the same pages, the interconnectedness of reading the same words.

And the amazement that comes from finding something special, long forgotten, tucked between the pages.

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