I devoured books when I was little. I was shy even though my party-circuit parents wanted me to be little miss sociable I was not. Eventually I learned to force myself to be charming, laugh at just the right moment, time my responses. I still didn’t like it. Well, I didn’t like having to conform to certain behaviors because circumstances required it. Don’t get me wrong, I had friends I enjoyed doing things with, and we laughed at the same things, we made each other laugh, we comforted each other’s hurts threatening all sorts of torment on the tormenter, and unless a secret was betrayed we were friends for life. I was (am still) a very loyal friend.
But I loved to read. I went so many places, ate incredible foods, encountered dangers that thoroughly terrified me, survived them gratefully. Books become part of us and change us in imperceptible ways. Once my mother said or did something that made me angry. I guess I was about 8 or 9 and I slammed my book on the floor. Profound silence. Mom looked very hard at me and said, “Books are your friends”. I have never forgotten this. And they are. They do not judge. Without expecting a thing in return they offer a virtual banquet of opportunity, ideas, adventure, and run the gamut of emotion in us from hope to despair to fury to indignance to elation to joy. We fall in love in some, realize why we should not in others. Our hearts get broken, we cry for others. We earn respect and are humbled beyond all imaginable. They give us depth, add to our experience even if we never leave the house.
I have lately realized I am becoming a bit over zealous about these books and my shyness threatens to consume me. I will read a review or see a great book sale. Before I realize what I have done I am collecting packages at the front door. I have no more shelf space. I really don’t have wall space to put more shelves. I need to read the books I have before I buy another one!
If no one hears from me I likely can be found beneath a massive pile of books.
At least I am among friends.