“Over the years I have collected so many books that, in aggregate, they can fairly be called a library. I don’t know what percentage of them I have read. Increasingly I wonder how many of them I ever will read. This has done nothing to dampen my pleasure in acquiring more books. But it has caused me to ponder the meaning they have for me, and the fact that to me they epitomize one great aspect of the goodness of life.” Marilynn Robinson- Imagination and Community
I have loved reading for as long as I can remember… in fact, some of my earliest memories are of my Dad reading a story (All the Pretty Little Horses) from “The Sleepy Book” before going to bed every night. As I grew, so did my love for books. I would often get in trouble for reading long after my lights were to be shut off for the evening. Books opened up a whole new world for me, they took me places that I couldn’t really even imagine in my dreams. They were an escape and offered me comfort and solace throughout the trials of childhood life.
My love of books continued to grow even as my childhood days passed away and turned into those of teenage years, young adulthood and now motherhood. I can hardly drive by a bookstore without stopping and although I have shelves of unread books, I find myself drawn inside as if the books have sent out a specific invitation just for me.
Since first reading this quote earlier in the week, I, like Robinson, have been pondering what my books really mean to me. This morning as I sat and looked at my collection, I started to write and these are the words that I came up with.
Books offer comfort, freedom and escape.
They offer hope and love, and reach emotions that I never knew existed prior to reading.
When I open a book the every day world melts away and I become lost within the pages.
Through books, I can travel the world, to the past and future, and places that only exist within the confines of an author’s mind.
I am able to let go of myself and become someone else, a child living through the Holocaust, a scientist, an alligator arguing with a narrator, a Pioneer lady, a young boy living in the inner city or even a villain.
All of this happen, from the safety of my own home in suburbia. Once the book ends, so has my experience. My world has expanded, and yet I haven’t left my zip code.
Reading opens my eyes to the world around me, allowing me to, even if just for a day or so, experience life that would otherwise be unaccessible to me.
Reading makes me a better person and I came to the realization that as long as I have books, everything will be alright.