Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Library...

I may have already mentioned this but when my brother and I were little, my mother always made it a point to take us to the public library in Wanamaker on a regular basis.  The memory of the book smell when walking in is something that I don't think I'll every forget.  The sense of smell can occasionally trigger some extremely fond memories.

My choices at the library were always biographies on historical American figures.  Clara Barton, Betsy Ross, Thomas Jefferson... maybe that's where my interest in history was sparked.

Sitting for hours reading a book with that familiar plastic wrapping on the dust jacket.  Hearing the crinkle sound whenever the hands moved.  Being disappointed when the last page was finished and thinking for hours about how interesting those people must have been.

Looking at the card in the back of the book at all of the due dates.  How many people have shared the same experience?  Have been along for the same ride and shared the author's story?   

Maybe that has a lot to do with the reason I became an antique book collector.  Admittedly I haven't read every book in my collection.  There are what we call reading copies and collector copies.  You never read your collector copies.  Unless it is David Copperfield.  I couldn't resist the temptation with that one.  

The first time I read Tom Sawyer I must have been about 8 or 9 years old.  I found a paperback copy somewhere and couldn't put it down.  Of course I had no idea at the time that it was a classic.  I thought it was a really interesting story.  When I was in High School, Tom Sawyer was the only book that we were required to read so I had a reason to read it again.  It was even more interesting the second time around because I understood it.

Reading the old type of book seems to be falling by the wayside.  I'm even guilty of it.  When Amazon released the first Kindle, I was right there placing my order for the new technology.  Now we have ebooks, Kindle books, Nook books and you can even read books on your iPhone if you want to.

But it's just... not... the same.

Sometimes I long for the smell of an old library book.  To hear that crackle of the plastic cover.  To walk on those old terrazzo floors under florescent lights.  Seeing the heavy, shiny pine tables and chairs lining the center of the room.  Hearing the sound when someone moves one of those chairs was like nails on a chalkboard because they were solid wood and heavy, but I miss that sound.  Walking through the bookcases, scanning the titles on the thousands of spines looking back at me for something that just appears interesting and that says "Here I am Helena.  Read me."

I loved that old library.  Unfortunately now it is gone.

It's a chilly, rainy day today.  What a wonderful day to just sit down next to a window and curl up with a great book.  Enter another world or moment in time.  See that moment through another pair of eyes and imagination.

I think I'm off to do just that.

Happy Tuesday...



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