The other day I had lunch with Jane Peterson of Oro Valley Library fame. Sharing book titles stimulates us, as reading has been and remains a major part of our lives.
During our conversation, Jane, who retired as library manager in December 2012, told me about a book titled “We are All Completely Beside Ourselves” by Karen Joy Fowler. Here is a quote:
“When I run the world, librarians will be exempt from tragedy. Even their smaller sorrows will last only for as long as you can take out a book.”
Reading this divine quote brought back poignant memories. Plagued by debilitating asthma, when I was a child my life consisted of going to school, then stopping by the library on the way home to exchange the four books maximum from the children’s section. At home, mom provided a snack and for the rest of the afternoon I did homework and read. Years later, mom said, “She always had her nose in a book.”
One day I returned four books and the librarian checked them in saying, “It isn’t fair for you to take four books out every day. You should only take out books you read so other children aren’t deprived.”
Hurt to the core, tears in my eyes, I looked at her and said, “But I read all these books, every day.”
With disdain, she picked up one of the books I’d returned. “Really? What’s this one about?”
Pleasure got an early start that day. Remembering practically every word of the book, I spewed out what I had read. In a split second, her demeanor changed. No longer the evil stepmother type, she turned into my fairy godmother. For two years we discussed books. By the time I was 10, I had read all the books in the children’s section over and over again.
“Miss Librarian,” I said, “may I get a library card for the adult books downstairs? I’ve read all these books so many times I know them by heart.”
And so it came to pass that I read books far beyond my realm. Science fiction, mysteries, romance and mainstream. My vocabulary increased as my love of the written word escalated. Fun with words became a lifelong game. My passion for books sustains me, takes me places I never dreamed of going and assures me all is well in the world.
My respect for libraries is so strong that when people complain about paying taxes, my response is, “Have you ever used a public library?”
The past year was filled with wonderful books. If you’ve read something spectacular, feel free to drop me a line as I’m always on the prowl for a book to fall in love with. I heartily recommend “The Husband’s Secret” by Liane Moriarty. Fabulous!