Hello, my lovelies!
I bet you never expected an actual written post that wasn't a book review, right? I have a been a long time gone, my friends, and while I wish this sort of thing could happen a little more often, alas... Infrequent posting is simply a product of my current life! In fact, since I've been so infrequent, I'm rather doubtful whether anyone is still hanging on around here...?? In case anyone is, here's a refresher course into my brain! (I know you've missed my rambling and nonsensical posts, right? ........right?)
Anyhoo! First up, I must needs point you to this article that I stumbled on last week. It's what caused my heart to begin pumping furiously with the need to write a response! So here I am. Responding.
If you haven't clicked over and read the article, please do so now. Don't worry. I'll wait.
Now then. Welcome back.
I think what first struck me was the fact that the title of the article totally references something that resonated with me. I am not 40 yet (still a few years left in my 30s, thank you very much!), but as I thought about it, I realized that my time in bookstores as an upper 30-ish woman is certainly different than how I entered them in my 20s. Ah ha! The writer of the article is already on to something!
But seriously. It's true. A couple of quotes struck me particularly and I wanted to expound a little bit more on my thoughts:
Now when I wander the aisles, it’s not just some future self I imagine but a past one. There aren’t just books to read but books I’ve already read. Lives I’ve lived.So true! At this stage of my life, it's not just me looking for new-to-me stories (although that certainly still plays a part!), but it's much more than that. There is truly an immense comfort upon entering said bookstore and spying old friend after old friend on those shelves. This hit home particularly for me as I am currently living overseas (for just a few months). I had a week during the middle of December where my time was free for whatever I wanted. So I rented a motorbike and headed off to find bookshops!
Let me state right up front that that was so much fun.
It wasn't only that after four months of a crazy busy schedule and not nearly as much time for reading on my kindle as I wished that I was desperate to just be inside a bookstore...
It wasn't just the fact that I wanted to see what a bookstore looked and felt like where I couldn't read any of the books within, not even the titles...
It wasn't simply so I could snap a few photos and post them on my instagram...
It was all of those things and more. But what I discovered? Is that after so many months of being surrounded with busyness and traveling here and there. After stuffing my brain full of knowledge and more knowledge. After studying until my eyeballs felt a bit crazed and dry. The most comforting thing, the happiest moment for me that week, was the simple joy of seeing shelf after shelf of English-language stories. Stories that I recognized. That I knew inside and out. I found a couple Jane Austen's, a couple Tolkien's, and the sheer pleasure in perusing the shelves, taking as long as I desired, and simply basking in the happy of the familiar.
So that quote up there? I get it. Bookstores are so much more to me now than they used to be. It's the memories that those stories bring to mind! I remember the first time I read a certain book and the feelings it invoked. Even if I've reread the book a million times since, when I newly find it on a bookshelf in a bookstore or library, I am not taken back to the last time I read it usually, but instead to my first read through. And you know those feelings, right? That first time you read a new favorite story and the chapters keep building, your heart beats faster, and you devour each paragraph with hungry eyes and heart until you read the final bits where you close it with a happy sigh. And immediately want to flip to the beginning and start all over again!
You know that feeling, don't you? *nods* I knew you did. It's one of the best feelings in the world.
That feeling is the one that returns (in a subdued manner, of course, nothing can repeat that first read through feeling of joy!) when I spy a certain book named My Hands Came Away Red on some shelf somewhere. It returns anytime I see Jane Austen on a spine. It can even return when someone asks me about reading and I'm given the sweet, sweet opportunity of ranting about books for a while! Verbally. While a real live human being looks me in the eyes and listens. (Yes. This is a very rare occurrence in my real life. Humph.)
They’re not merely items on a shelf but points on a map, convergences I can trace to former versions of myself.YES.
They truly are. And what I know now? Is that when every other bit of life has taken a huge leap into the wild unknown, bookshops/bookstores/books, familiar books, compelling and inspiring books, favorites and old friends....they are so much a part of my heart. They spin me away from the crazy of life when all else is whooshing out of control and allow me to just breathe for a moment. They refresh my soul and give me a reason to find a quiet corner. They teach me, all over again, that leaps of faith are worth taking, that brave is possible, that adventures are waiting for those willing to go, and that life has some precious memories that should never be forgotten.
And I wouldn't have it any other way.