July 02, 2013
Reading has always been one of my greatest pleasures. From the time I was small, I’ve always kept a stack of library books at hand to choose from. Books entertained me when I was bored, informed me when I wanted answers, and befriended me when I was lonely. When I was little, we lived in a rural area, and a weekly trip to the Oak Grove Branch was the highlight of my existence. Although the two elderly librarians scared me more than a bit with their stern and wrinkly countenances (I was vehemently shushed on more than one occasion), they always unbent enough to help me find the books I was looking for. Mom and I always staggered to the car with bags full of the coming week’s entertainment.
Frequently, I would journey out into the wooded area of our property, climb into my favorite tree, and relax there with some great find: a book from The Great Brain series, perhaps, or one of the many excellently creepy John Bellairs books (he wrote three different series for children, many with satisfyingly horrific cover illustrations by Edward Gorey). Another favorite author was Lois Lowry (the Anastasia series always made me laugh), and Judy Blume’s books were great. Some books were entertaining, but only good enough to be read once; but others (Charlotte’s Web, The Wind in the Willows, The Secret Garden, Harriet the Spy) were books I could turn to again and again. Depending on my mood, I might open a book in the morning and read all the way through it by that evening; or I might instead start three or four different books and alternate between them over several days’ time.
And, when a week or so had passed and Mom and I had sat at the kitchen table and read, and reread, and gotten as much enjoyment as was possible out of the bags of books we had brought home, we would pack them all up and make another trip to Oak Grove. Those formidable ladies would greet us again, and I would smile politely at them, then rush to the children’s section to search for my heart’s desire.
Lone Jack Branch