Friday, 12 March 2021

The Library. And Books.

I was thinking last night how happy I am that I love to read.  I assume this is due to my parents encouraging reading and love of books and for that I am so grateful.

I remember our house had these two giant bookcases, floor to ceiling, filled with all sorts of books.  And I'm pretty sure I had a book shelf or book case of my own in my room.  

And then there was the library.  Oh the library... that magical place where you could go and pick out books and take them home FOR FREE!  All you had to do was promise to bring them back by a certain time.  What a wonderful thing.

I have very distinct memories of my local library.  The kid's section was to the left of the librarians desk.  And there were picture books and story books and chapter books.  I remember you could, if you were lucky, sit and read a picture book while your parent or whoever chose their books.  And I distinctly remember the moment of feeling "allowed" to go to the "grown up" section of the library.  Possibly there was a youth/young adult/teen section, I don't recall, but the "big people" books were to the right of the library desk, past the card catalogue (remember those!?  awesome) and how grown up it felt to be reading the .... real books.  (Knowing you could always go back to the kid section if you wanted!)

I remember liking Judy Blume, although my Mom had an issue with "Are You There God? It's Me Margret."  I don't remember why.  I thought at the time it might be the "controversy" around the book talking about periods, but maybe it was the title, I don't know, but I think that was probably the first book I read in secret... literary contraband... 

I also used to borrow Archie comics (not something we were allowed to buy) and sneaking the occasional Sweet Valley High (TOTALLY FORBIDDEN FRUIT!) book from a friend.

I also liked Roald Dahl and Jean Little and The Little House on the Prairies series and so many more.  

I remember sitting at the top of the stairs looking through the giant book shelf at home and seeing the Piers Anthony Xanth books my brother(s)? had read and picking out Ogre, Ogre and that being my first introduction to Fantasy... and "real, grown up" books.  

I have memories of the school library too.  My elementary school and my high school.  I don't think I got novels out in high school but I remember looking at books in Elementary school so I probably took some out there too.

And I loved picture books.  The combination of the words and the pictures and illustrations and I really liked the more complex ones where there was a lot to look at, like oh, what's the one where the boy has the tadpole that grows into a giant monster?  "The Mysterious Tadpole" by Steven Kellogg, I LOVED his stuff.  And "Where The Wild Things Are", all of those.  I loved them.

I took a break from libraries at some point in my adult life.  Not sure why.  Maybe the ability to buy books (which I've also really enjoyed... oh the money I've spent in book stores!) became a thing.... but I rediscovered libraries again a few years ago and I've talked about that here.

But I do so love being involved in a story and finding friends in pages.  I'm so glad I love to read.  I'm so glad libraries exist and I'm so very glad my parents encouraged and supported a love of reading and a love of books.  Books are the best.  I'm so grateful I have them

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