The library has long been my home away from home. A vivid childhood memory is of one of the many trips my older sisters and I took to the small library in our town. It was located in a retail strip mall about half a mile from our home. We didn’t use backpacks in those late 1950’s days. They hadn’t been invented yet. Instead, we carried our stack of borrowed books cradled in interlaced arms against our chests. This was a weekly ritual that has lasted a lifetime.
When I began Catholic grammar school, a new library there drew me to books on the lives of Saints. I remember being horrified, but at the same time, inspired by their stories, believing the Franciscan nuns who led us to aspire to sainthood one day. Holiness above all else was drilled into my subconscious whether I liked it or not, and I devoured the books made available to me one after another.
Eventually, adolescence turned my thoughts in a more realistic direction, and I got hooked on a series of books about a young girl with violet colored eyes. They were so much more enjoyable and didn’t recount vivid images of torture or self-mutilation to haunt my pubescent dreams.
As I grew, the library in our town outgrew the little retail location and a huge, Frank Lloyd Wrightesque modern library was constructed kitty-corner from the old one. It offered a larger selection of reading material for a young girl with a voracious appetite for literature. I happened to be there the day the news crew came to film the new library for the 5 o’clock news hour and felt like a celebrity when I and other young patrons were included in the footage. I had arrived.
With age, my reading list and interests expanded, and I became familiar with famous authors and their work. New curiosities entered my thoughts. The library offered books on almost every imaginable subject with which to satisfy them.
Over the many years since then, I have belonged to many libraries and read countless books on many subjects. I’ve gone through phases and with different genres and have spent summers devoted to the works of favorite authors like Hemingway, Shakespeare, C.S. Lewis, and Doyle. Along the way, I’ve populated bookcases and bins with hundreds of my favorites. I fondly call them my “keepers”. Like family to me, I love them, visit them frequently, and care for them deeply. In unmeasurable ways, they have enriched my life satisfied my curiosity, expanded my knowledge and helped me to understand the human condition.
It is with this love that I begin my blog. My intention here is to record the next year of my life and the books which will be my companions along the way.