Saturday, January 1, 2011

Here goes nothing...

Why do I love books?  I suppose that is the primary question, and one to which I don’t know if I have a satisfactory answer.  I love them because they’re books, and in being so, are everything.  I have lived my entire life around books.  My parents are both book people.  Their parents were all book people.  When I was a baby, I was put to bed with cloth books so that I would always wake up with a book.  I was read to incessantly, everything from Goodnight Moon to the daily paper.  Before I even knew how to write, I was filling up blank journals with drawn out stories inspired by my favorite tales (and a few video games, I’ll admit).  The older I got, the more drawn to books I became.  I developed love affairs with the wonderful worlds of Oz, the March sisters, hobbits, a club of babysitters and some sleepover friends.  I would read anything.
                In school I studied film, always loving to poke at the relationship between books and film; the science of adaptation, I called it.  But always, there were books, more books than I could ever actually read.  Used bookstores were my best friends.  New York City’s famous Strand bookstore was nearly my economic downfall.  When I left school, I went to work in a bookstore, and slowly my career passion began to evolve.  At first, all I knew was this: there must be books.  Then came the children.  There must be children.  And so I spent several years as a children’s bookseller at a large retailer.  It wasn’t the ideal job, but it kept me in the company of children whom I could inspire to read, and it kept me in books.  And it kept me thinking, always thinking, about that relentless question: what do you want to be when you grow up?  Last year, I finally found myself an answer.
                I wanted to be a children’s librarian.  So simple, I can’t believe it took me so long to think of it.  Plans were began, schools were scouted, then life stomped its angry feet, and health issues put everything on hold.  2010 was looking like the biggest disappointment, the wrecker of hopes and dreams, when the perfect opportunity all but fell in my lap.  A position for Children’s Services Librarian opened up at my local public library, and I jumped for it before I’d even known my feet were moving.  For once, luck was on my side, and 2010 turned out to have some happiness for me yet.  I got the job, and moved into a new working life.  Returning to school is back on the menu, and suddenly my options are open again.
                So why do I love books?  Too many reasons to name really.  I love books because there are at the root of all things.  They contain all things, explain all things, escape all things.  There are worlds inside, ancient, fantastic and eternal, and the future, too.  My future.  Books have shaped my life, and in 2010, they gave me back my life.  What’s not to love about that?

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