I got a library card today. Best. Day. Ever.
This solves a lot of my recent problems. Can’t afford a book? Can’t bring it on the plane? Don’t know if I’ll like it? It’s okay! I’ve got a library card!
Libraries have upped their game since the last time I borrowed books. You can borrow ebooks and audiobooks and download them to your various devices now. No need to worry about returning the copy on time, it just goes away when your time is up! And all this means I can borrow books through my hometown library, even though I’m seven timezones away. I can’t lose.
My entire childhood revolved around libraries, it seems. It started out with Curious George books after my swimming lessons at the community centre when I was little. I soon developed loves for Dr. Seuss and Robert Munsch. When we moved houses when I was six, I switched libraries, too. The next one was just as good (and also close to my swimming lesson, incidentally) and I would ask to visit every time we went past it.
My card had a limit on how many books I could borrow, but I used to go in and out of libraries with piles of books, the occasional magazine, and if I found something interesting that day, maybe a movie. Books were my oxygen. They provided me with a high I chased right through high school. I figured out exactly how many books I could read at the same time before I began to get the plots and characters mixed up. I read all the time.
I used to have a tiny bookshelf on wheels that acted as my nightstand. When I was on a roll reading in the early hours of the morning and I heard my mom coming, I’d switch the book I was reading for another and the flashlight I was using for a weaker one. She’d come in, confiscate my book and flashlight, tell me to go to sleep already, and leave. As soon as she was gone, I went back to reading. Sorry Mom.
Even in school I’d read all the time. I read at lunch, I read at recess, and I read in class. In eighth grade my English teacher noticed how much I loved The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton which we were reading in class and bought me my very own copy (which I still have). In ninth grade I remember reading Girl With A Pearl Earring in science class. My teacher caught me and yelled at me in front of my classmates, but the entire time I was just thinking about what would happen next in the story. I really couldn’t have cared less. (We were learning about eyeballs, anyway. I already knew all that stuff.)
When I was a week shy of my fifteenth birthday, I’d finished my library books early and had read every book I owned at least twice. There weren’t enough books for me. The world needed more.
So I started writing.
And of course, I kept reading all the while. I read in church, I read in restaurants, I read in every place listed in Green Eggs And Ham. You get the idea.
But it started to slow down after high school. I was struggling to get into books as much any more. When I left for university, I was still reading. I packed four unread books and hoped they’d last longer than a month. But classes kept me busy, and I had friends and I travelled.
Slowly, I was reading less and less. I noticed I was writing less, too.
So I started a blog and got a library card.