I just love my books – and these books are, in fact, my friends. If you’re not a book lover, you might as well stop reading now and spare your gag reflex because this might get sappy.
At the moment, my house contains around 6,000 books. Maybe more. Definitely not less. There are many reasons why I have this abnormally large collection, but the main one is that I just can’t get rid of my friends. How would you like it if your friends just decided to have a garage sale one day and sold you off for a dollar? I can’t do it. I don’t even want to. Much to my dear husband’s dismay. Especially since a good portion of these books are taking up valuable real estate in his garage.
I’ve always had a thing for books. I remember one Christmas when I was about six or seven years old, and I received a pile of Little Golden Books (remember those?) from my grandparents. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I must have had books before that, but I distinctly recall the feeling of total euphoria that came over me as a result of having my very own brand new books. I read those books over and over. To myself. To my sister. To anyone who would listen.
When I was in the fourth grade, I was thrilled to learn that my classroom had its own books. In those prehistoric days, there was no such thing as a school library. Each class, grades 4 and up, had a small selection of age-appropriate books that could be signed out one at a time by the students. I think I read every book on the shelf twice that year. The Wizard of Oz. Anne of Green Gables. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. That was also the year that Scholastic Books started their student purchase program and I discovered Nancy Drew. Almost more than I could handle.
The big breakthrough came, however, during the summer between fifth and sixth grades. I walked down the concrete stairs into the dingy basement of the Mayfair Community Centre on 33rd Street in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and I knew I had found my place in this world. The Public Library. It was small. It was cramped. And it probably had less books than I own right now. But for me it was a magical place. It smelled wonderful. They let you borrow two books at a time and you could keep them for two weeks, which meant I had time to read them both three times before they had to be returned.
I was such a geek.
I’m still a geek.
Books have the power to take me places I’ve never been and will probably never go. To introduce me to characters that are just as real to me as anyone I know. To allow my imagination to soar. Books teach me things I didn’t know. How to do things I couldn’t do.
Yes, they’re my friends. And I don’t even care what you think about that.