Thursday, February 27, 2014


My shelves aren't as neat as the library's!

Books! I celebrate The Book every day of my life. If I'm not reading, I'm buying for somebody else. Books are my absolutely favorite gift to give. Or receive. Next favorite, to receive, is a gift card at a bookstore.

My childhood was spent in the dark ages--pre-TV, pre-Internet. My greatgrandchildren ask, "What did you DO?"

We read books. And magazines. And encyclopedias, and the dictionary, and just about anything that had words and pictures. Or just words.

I've been known to read cereal boxes, ads on the back of magazines, and newspaper classifieds.

Books, a desk, yarn--great place to be!
So what, exactly, do books mean to me? Here's a list that might help answer that question.

Books are:
  • companions - as an only child, I chose books for a refuge, and they became my friends
  • teachers - if I didn't have anyone to ask, or a library to visit, I could probably find an answer in a book; thus dictionaries became one of my early favorites
  • counselors - I learned about having siblings (books for my age group were almost always about families) by reading books--also about what it meant to have friends, to fall in love, to work at a particular occupation (nursing was a big fave for years, along with airline stewardess)
  • travel guides - I could visit placers I probably would never get to explore: England (especially Cornwall and Yorkshire), Scotland, and Canada. I could live as a child in Appalachia, grow up on a ranch in Wyoming, or explore in the desert of Arizona. Farm stories didn't appeal to me - I knew what it was like to live on a farm in Illinois and Missouri by direct experience. Cities were fascinating, though, no matter where they were located. I'd lived in only one city, Wichita, KS, during the 1950s when airplane production was high and jobs were plentiful for my parents.

Books have a tendency to multiply when least expected.
A book provided privacy, as well as the above roles it played in my life. If I was reading and fully engaged with the heroine in the search for the stolen jewels, I was gone. The body sitting in the chair was a living, breathing husk--its mind had flown to other lands. (Naturally this caused some household friction. If I was supposed to set the table or go out to gather the eggs, then I had to be mentally present to do it right now, not when my mind was reunited with my body.)

To this day I carry a book or magazine with me when I have to be away from the house several hours. A book can't talk, but it has the power to soothe anxiety, erase anger, stir up good feelings, and transport the stranded motorist to happier--or more exciting--places.

Remember this old joke? A person is asked, "If you could were sent to a desert island and could take only one book (egads!), what book would you take?" The person ponders a few moments, then answers: "The dictionary!" Why, he is asked? "Because it contains all the other books!" Clever answer.

But I hope I'm never asked to limit myself to just one book--good grief! I can't fathom having only one.

May you never be asked to choose only one book--and may we never be banished to a desert isle.

When National Library Week or National Book Week or Celebrate Teen Literature Day come along, think about what reading has done for you, or your family. They can be pure gold for some folks.

They're everywhere!


  1. Have Kindle, will travel. And though it will never feel like a "real" book, I love having 100s of them at my disposal right in my purse. :-)

  2. Maybe if I moved around more, I'd love the notion of a book bulging with 100s of books...until I travel again, I'll stick with the 100s on my shelves, in boxes, on chairs, stacked on the floor....