During my college years the university library was my haven. I’d find a quiet study-desk at which to work, or a 1960s era armchair in which to sit and read. I’d even go through the stacks of phone books from around the world and run my fingers down the lists of strange and beautiful names that I was clueless how to pronounce, imagining what kind of story I’d write using such names and whether they’d be a heroine/hero, a sidekick, or a villain.
Bookstores were my secondary haven. If I had a little money, a few dollars I’d saved up, I’d venture in, peruse the shelves, and finding something interesting I’d plop myself down on the floor and begin reading it. If I had been sufficiently drawn in before someone tried to kick me out, I’d buy the book.
The Moonstone was the first gilded-edge book I’d bought. It was a prize found on an almost out-of-reach top shelf of a used bookstore near my university. I walked out of there like I had found a lost Rembrandt.
Authors became my heroes. I admired their minds, their imaginations, their creativity for thinking of something I couldn’t have begun to imagine. I wanted to understand where it came from. I researched writers to find out about their backgrounds and how they connected to the stories that they wrote.
I have books that are friends. Books that I buy a dozen copies of (over time) because I loan them out and never get them back. Books that are my go-to gift to a friend who is engaged, or a friend who loves understanding personalities or relationships, or a friend who loves anything that I have a book about.
I love to read at night, after work, in the dark, before bed. I have one of those little book lights that I clip to the back of my book and then I snuggle against my pillow and slip away to somewhere else. I love to stop at a point where I can sleepily turn off the book light, lay the book aside and close my eyes to dream of what I’ve just read.
Sometimes, when I dream about finally finding my husband, I imagine us taking turns reading to each other in front of a fire on a cold evening in winter. I worry that he may not be enjoying the book and he’s doing it just to placate me, but when I begin to close the book at the end of the chapter, he grabs it from me and continues to read aloud. No, it’s not a deal-breaker, but it is a dream.
And in the end, when I’m weak and fading away and confined to my bed, I hope that I have at least one friend who knows all of this about me, and who will come and sit by my bed and read to me Psalms or Jane Eyre or Les Miserables or any of the books on my shelves. That is my hope.