Sunday, August 26, 2018

Books: The Joy in the Find

"The best moments in reading are when you come across something--a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things--which you had thought special and particular to you. Now here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. and it is as if a hand has come out and taken yours."  --Alan Brooks

Some special summer days for me this summer were going to a book sale in Springville, Utah. Every week 50,000 books were delivered to a warehouse, and the manager has a couple of sales during the year. I have found a wonderful library in Victor, Idaho that sells many of its books every summer. You give a donation what you think works for you. My sister lives in Ithaca, NY, and they have a huge book sale every year that my parents would often go to. My mom, now almost 80, is taking the trip to Ithaca, NY from Utah this fall--always in search of another book. I guess for my family it is a treasure hunt.

So I guess I should be a satisfied enough parent. I agree with Anna Quinlin: "I would be the most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves." After moving one daughter this summer to her own apartment, she showed me her bulging, cherished books. Last night I saw her wave her hands with glee and joy, almost dancing, as we saw her new bookshelves-- the collection she has been adding to since she was a little girl. Another daughter and her husband recently finished a DIY project of making a wall of bookshelves for their evergrowing library. My sons love the chase of a good book or a thoughtful talk (even with a stranger) about a book.

We come from a long line of book lovers. My sister and I had a library in our bedroom when we were kids where the neighborhood kids could check out books. We charged a nickel if the book was overdue--more than two weeks (I don't remember collecting much change). Now, as I look back, I can't believe my mom allowed all the neighborhood kids to tromp through our house and halls to peruse our books. I can see me in mind as a nine or ten-year-old kid freely offering my very high and refined literary recommendations to those who cared to listen. Ha! Since it was summer and there were no libraries around, our family's collection was shared. I guess we were all a little bored, but we did voyage into our literary worlds.

I take pride in being Icelandic and their Christmas Eve holiday of Jolabokaflod--when everyone gives books to one another for gifts and you read all night together with a cup of cocoa. Books are the dreams, sermons, stories, and enchantment we hold in our hands. They enfold our curiosity, imagination.  We are never the same again--just like when we meet people who etch on our minds and hearts.

Dallin and Kristen Oaks have said, "Find out what hobbies your ancestors had. Discover how you are like them. What did they enjoy doing, reading, learning about? Understand the connections of how you are bonded to ancestors. This summer I was reminded of our connection to books as a family.  I am told one of my grandmothers in the 1920s read every book in the Springville, Utah library. There have been times in my life when I had little money, but I always seemed to have enough for a new book. 

This summer I bought a plethora of books--children's books, history, classics, cookbooks, field books, poetry, art, books on religion. Most of them cost almost nothing since I go to special sales in warehouses, garage sales, or libraries. I love the hunt or finding a treasure to give to someone else. 

But perhaps one of the most fun experiments of the summer was bringing the columned piles of books out for some family gatherings. Conversations grew deeper, eyes became direct and steady on one another. People listened to the other's comments and insights. Other conversations were more light, with lots of chuckles. As young adults read some of their favorite children's books alone or to a child, memories started to return to magical moments when fairy tales could be like real life--the beginnings of when you began to understand the forces between evil and good. 

The greatest indication of their joy was there were no cell phones: everyone just wanted to revel in a book. We were all a little closer that night--going places we otherwise would not have known. Everyone just wanted to talk, learn, and laugh--not look at a screen.

It might be 2018, but I have faith in the power of a book. 

My mom and sister learning about our hometown with a book we bought--so much entertainment for a mere $1.We all bought a pile and I pulled them out for a family dinner. Look at some of the responses, connections, and bonds. Priceless.

My sister and nephew sharing moments with their books I gave them. It was fun to give books out that I had bought for a dollar or less....

One of the reasons I loved reading books to my children was that I had them next to me, close skin to skin--even heart to heart.  I could see their enthralled eyes of wonder, and they could hear the lilt of my voice.

This World War 2 book sparked a steady conversation for more than an hour. 

My niece enjoying reading her old favorites.

Peter and Sarah with books that reminded them being cuddled with a book.

Enjoying time together with books...

Sarah enthralling her cousins.

Brothers, my nephews enraptured.

Smiles and laughs with a book. Moments to remember...

My nephew reading to his niece. No one could get enough books that night and all the days and nights we were together.