For the Love of Books

The local library was one of my favorite haunts when I was a kid.Having* new books to read makes me feel euphoric. I can’t help it. Even when I was a kid, I felt elated about going to the library.

My mom sometimes would leave me at the library for hours. I didn’t mind. It took time to find new books to read, especially after I had visited the library a couple of times. If my usual locations didn’t have a selection of new books, I had to prowl the aisles one by one, hoping that I would find a scintillating title. Once I couldn’t carry any more books – my book bag was full, and I couldn’t carry any more books in my arms because the stack was too tall or too heavy – I made my way to the librarians. I think I surprised some of them. I can remember being told on several occasions that I only had two weeks to read my selection of books. I may have even been asked if I would like to return some books. I guess the librarians thought I was overzealous. They probably believed that a nine-year-old girl had better things to do with her time than to read.

Even my college and graduate school textbooks could make me feel ecstatic. I may have not liked the price tags associated with some of the books I had to buy, but I still loved the books (most of them) themselves. Once I purchased the books, I rushed home – wherever that was at the time – so that I could look at them in closer detail. I would flip through the pages. I sometimes would start to read some of the books (Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia is a case in point.). If the book were used, I found myself reading the notes someone had left in it and wondering if I would agree with that person’s assessment during my own reading of the text.

I still feel the same exhilaration when I go to the bookstore or troll Amazon. I wonder what treasures I will discover. Unfortunately, I usually discover too many, which is why I have availed myself of a lengthy and ever-growing wish list.

*This post originally appeared on July 21, 2011.