My earliest memories of reading center around a library. Whether combing through the card catalog in my elementary school library — not the digital kind but the one with endless rows of tiny drawers filled with 3×5 cards — or wandering the aisles of the public library, my childhood was filled with books.
As a shy, introverted, anxious child, books were always my escape and the libraries held the tickets for those adventures. It was at a library that I met Nancy Drew, learned about the horrors of the Holocaust, traveled the English countryside with knights, and gained an appreciation for the history of fashion. Laura Ingalls Wilder and I became the best of friends in the Big Woods of Wisconsin and I devoured every book of the series.
If I had a question and my parents didn’t know the answer, then my next stop was the library and its shelves filled with knowledge. Today the internet gives us an answer at the click of a button, but search engine results can be very confusing and even conflicting at times. Yet, there is something very trustworthy about a library. Maybe it’s the fact that books can take years to be researched, written, and published and are vetted, usually, by editors and copywriters, or the fact that absolutely anyone can publish something on the internet.
Every year in elementary school, most kids looked forward to Field Day or field trips, but what I could not wait for was the book fair. Now having been a teacher myself I know how stressful taking 25 children through a book fair can be, but at the time, it was a world of wonder for me. Every table was filled with shiny, new books that talked about frogs and weather and stolen treasure and adventures on the high seas. I, of course, wanted one of everything but thankfully my parents always sent me with money to buy at least one or two books.
On long road trips, my brothers would sleep and I would read…and read…and read. My travel bag was always filled with books and to this day, I always travel with at least one book, even if I’m only gone overnight. I have tried reading digital books but it is just not the same for me. The sensation of holding the book and physically turning the pages is a part of the whole wonderful experience.
My husband is as much a voracious reader as I am and our apartment is filled with overflowing bookshelves. Our dream one day is to turn a room in our future house into a library complete with overstuffed chairs and a fireplace. Although the Biltmore House library is our inspiration, I doubt we’ll be able to match it. Anyone else ever been tempted to cross the velvet ropes, pull a book off the shelf, and curl up in one of the cozy chairs? Ok, maybe it’s just me.
I am forever grateful to my parents for instilling a love of reading in me and to the librarians for facilitating that love. Thanks to them and the many authors who have followed their calling to write I have traveled the world several times over and grown my knowledge exponentially. I will never be able to thank them enough for the way they have impacted my life.
Tell us in the comments: What’s your favorite book?
Joanna is part of the Contributing Writer Network at Thirty on Tap. To apply to become a Contributing Writer, please click here.
Featured image via Unsplash.