Nostalgia · Stories · Throwback Thursday

A Love Affair with Books

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Earlier this week, when I was back in Ohio visiting my parents, I was reminded of where my love of reading was born. No matter where you look in their house, you’re bound to see a book. They are in built-in bookcases and free-standing ones. They are sitting on top of desks and nestled in baskets and perched precariously in stacks on top of chairs. Downstairs are the novels my parents cherish and upstairs are the ones I adored from my childhood that my mom has so lovingly saved. I loved growing up in an environment like this, where a dazzling array of miniature worlds existed within the four walls of where I lived.

When I moved into my new place last year, one of the first things I purchased was a set of bookshelves for my living room, which now proudly display the books that I’ve collected over the years. I have a considerably smaller amount than my parents (they probably have upward of 1,000) but it’s a collection nonetheless. Although some find the purchase of books frivolous, being surrounded by them brings me an immense amount of joy—when I peruse a bookstore or walk around a library or run my hands across my own collection, I swear I get the same feelings I do when I am hugged by someone I loved.

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The year I was pregnant with my daughter, I read 68 books. I decided that being pregnant was the perfect excuse to get in all the reading I could before my days became filled with the amazing, wonderful demands of motherhood. Sometimes I’d even read out loud, convinced the early exposure to Zoey’s growing ears—even if the words were terribly muffled—would help instill a love of reading in her before she entered the world.  After Zoey was born, they changed from fiction and memoirs to picture and board books, but I didn’t care. Just like my parents had done with me, I relished being able to share my love of the written word with my daughter. A book is never far from her hands, so I think it’s safe to say I might have accomplished my goal.

Between working and blogging and being a mother, it’s hard to devote the time to reading that I would like. But as I type this, I’m sitting on a plane flying home, and I am surrounded by people who are doing the very thing I love. I see paperbacks and hardbacks and Nooks and Kindles. While I’m a purist and prefer the real thing, I appreciate that the rise of e-readers puts novels into people’s hands that might not otherwise be inclined to pick one up. I look around at the pages being flipped—both real and virtual—and it brings a smile to my face. My daughter sits beside me with her spring break reading, and it gives me an idea.

I’m going to take this opportunity to throwback to something I love: I’m going to flip down the top of my computer and flip open a book instead. With every page I turn, I will be transported to not only to another world, but also back to the places of my own past that created my love affair with books:

  • I will remember the sound of my mother’s voice reading me my nighttime story.
  • I will remember my father saying that while he might not buy me everything I asked for, he would buy me as many books as I wanted.
  • I will remember the excitement of getting my own library card and experiencing the wonder of having row after row of books that were available to take home and enjoy.
  • I will remember crawling under the covers as a child with a flashlight and a story when I was supposed to go to bed. And I will remember going on a trip as an adult and staying up into the wee hours of the morning so I could finish David Nichols’ One Day, a book I tore through in the span of 24 hours. I will remember how I had escaped to the bathroom for light so I wouldn’t wake anyone up, and I will remember the taste of the tears that streamed down my face as I turned the book’s last, heartbreaking page.
  • I will remember one hand resting on my stomach, feeling Zoey’s tiny kicks and delicate hiccups, lifting it only to turn the pages of the book my other hand held.
  • I will remember unpacking my books after my new bookcases were built, and how, as I put them away on the shelves—one by one—I felt as if this simple act was laying the foundation of my new future. Although they held their own stories, they also held the story of my own life, and the new books that would find their way next to the old ones would hold the stories of all the things yet to come. I will remember thinking that this co-mingling of words and covers and pages, this mix-up of the past, present, and future, would turn out to be the best story yet.

As I open my book—or any book for that matter—I will remember all of these things, and I will be happy.


So tell me: Do you love books? What’s your favorite one? Do certain books transport you to a specific time and place?

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27 thoughts on “A Love Affair with Books

  1. I’m o dressed with the books that grab you instantaneously and never let go! The harry potters, or ones like them. They take you out of reality for awhile and put you back with a new sense of imagination and a spark of creativity.

  2. This is a beautiful, beautiful post. I find echoes of my childhood in yours. Except that my parents did not read to me. They were not that into reading which surprises me because we had a big library stacked with books, which in time, was appropriated as my den. It was a bit away from the rest of the house and I liked to shut myself in and just lose myself in the word of yellowed pages and random authors. I used to read everything else apart from textbooks so that my mother used to confiscate my books. Times when I used to think like her and in time retrieve them from her hiding places. I even carried them strapped into the waistband of my skirts into the loo, be in there forever, and after, hide them in the laundry basket. Gosh, memories. ‘One Day’ made my heart ache too. My memory of finishing a book in one night is that of ‘The Kite Runner’ and shedding copious tears all through.

  3. i’m totally nostalgic walking into a bookstore whether it be a chain like barnes and noble or a used book store. i love them! and actual books are so much better than the kindle (in my opinion) because they’re like little trophies! we’re a military family so it really sucks packing up all your books and moving them because as you build a collection they begin to get SO. HEAVY. i’m really trying to instill that love with my kids!

  4. Wow yes. I’m not a mother but I can only imagine what’s its like to manage all things. I admire you for it. Awesome tips too so thank you. -Jocelyne from resonatecreations.com

  5. Lovely post and yes I love book, I read almost every day, even if is is just half an hour before I go to sleep. I love to go to book stores and can stay there forever, looking through books, touching books. Reading a traditional book is so much better than reading it electronically. I cannot imagine a life without reading, I cannot imagine how empty life will be without the presence of books. I used to travel a lot and I would never leave without a book and would never come back without buying (on the airport usually) another one.

  6. I love this! I think being raised in an environment full of books is definitely part of what made my sister and I into complete bookworms! I have always loved to read, and it’s really hard for me that I have less time to do it now. I still get caught up in a great book sometimes and stay up all night, despite my adult responsibilities the next day!

  7. I love this! I am happiest curled up with a good book. My son just turned one and is finally starting to enjoy snuggling up and being read to (not that he knows what things mean yet). I can’t wait to create memories with him reading.

  8. This is so beautifully written!
    I love reading, and I am one of those people who read on my phone, but touching and smelling a physical book is something special! And to see a well used book age, that’s beautiful!
    I am a sucker for Stephen King, but haven’t even scratched the surface of his works!
    Thanks for sharing those beautiful memories!

    Xx Angela

  9. Yes to everything about this post! I absolutely LOVE books! When I was younger, my father told me the same thing. I used to read so much that my mom would sometimes get frustrated because when I was in the middle of a book, nothing could tear me away. I would end up eating dinner with a book in my hand. I would get in the car with a book in my hand {I can’t do that now though; I get car sick}. Even when the fam was watching TV, I would sometimes come with a book in my hand. I recently re-discovered my love for reading, and I love it! I signed up for a library card again, and I’m enjoying exploring the different worlds found between the pages of a book!

  10. I have always adored reading too. I have so many memories reading and being read to as a child. Now as an adult I read as much and as often as I can. I love a home filled with books!

  11. Yes to all of this. I used to be the girl that would try to sneakily tuck her flashlight under her pillow so she could read a few more pages after her parents tucked her in for bed.

    Somewhere along the way, I lost my lust for reading. Sure, I LOVE reading when I’m doing it. But, nowadays, there are so many distractions and disruptions and notifications that pop up that make it hard for me to jump in and really immerse myself completely.

    I think that’s WHY I love camping so much. You’re forced to disconnect so you can connect in more valuable ways.

  12. Love this! Reading is something I enjoy doing whenever I can! Recently I’ve been watching shows on Netflix instead of reading and need to get back in the habit of reading instead!

    I’m currently loving the Magnolia Story book and also The Woman I Wanted to Be by DVF!

    Kristen | http://www.sophisticatedgal.com

  13. I looove books. My best is a new book. I’ll find any excuse to open the pages, bury my nose deep inside and breathe deeply. I love it. I wish I could read more lately but time is so stretched with a 7hr job, three little boys, and a husband. I miss reading so much. I use kindle to keep my books safe lol. My favorite books are in the Christian Romance genre but I’ve read a lot of books and easily read 20 books in 2 months when I was in high school. Historical romances are another favorite. Thanks for triggering my nostalgia 🙂

  14. I love love love reading, too. it’s truly one of my favorite things to do.

    When I was younger, my mom wouldn’t always buy us toys or clothes when we were out shopping. But she would ALWAYS buy us books. It taught me to love reading so much, and thankfully, I’ve kept that my whole life.

  15. I love this post!! I’ve always said that the reason I’m a writer is because I was first a voracious reader. I know that I owe so much of who I am to the books that I loved when I was growing up. Short story: I was recently in San Francisco, and I unexpectedly found myself standing in the setting of a book that I read over and over when I was little. It was the most magical feeling! I still own the book, so I reread it this week. While the print was gigantic, it meant so much to me to read a book that meant so much to me with the newfound knowledge of what the place actually looked like!

  16. I, too, have a lifelong love affair with books. They are the one thing I do not think I could live without. In keeping with your theme, I very much love the classics. John Steinbeck is my favorite author. East of Eden is one of my favorite novels (soon to be a movie) tied with To Kill a Mockingbird. There is nothing in this world like devouring a great book!

  17. Oh my goodness, I love books. My mom said I learned to read from a really young age and I’ve been devouring books since then. Like you, I’m definitely a purist and prefer the real thing in my hand as opposed to a digital copy. Generally, I read YA fiction, but have been trying to branch out into historical fiction, autobiographies, sci-fi and others and have found some new ones to love.

  18. This is a beautiful post. I love books too….books and writing have helped me get through my trauma even though they are not “typical” therapies. It’s hard to name a favorite book because there are so many I love, but I devour Neil Gaiman whenever I read him,and I think my favorite book of his is American Gods.

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