Two of the reasons that I became a librarian are because I like books and because I like to organize things. Now when I say I like books, it's not just that I like to read (which I do), but I also like the look of books. I appreciate the quality of the paper, the font used, the layout, the color or design of the endpapers, an attractive dust jacket. When my mother would get a new book, the first thing she would do would be to look at the binding. Books are lovely things to have, and yes, books do furnish a room. It is so sad to go into a house without books. I now have a Kindle, which may be useful for travel, but it will never replace my book friends.
I imagine that everyone who enjoys reading has some book friends - books that you like to revisit over and over again, books you almost know by heart. They're often the books that you read when you were young, that spoke to you in a profound way. These are some of my favorite books. I first read two of them when I was 11. One was a ballet story with a great sense of place. I felt as if I were in London and Northumberland. The other took place in Glasgow. They made me want to travel and see the places that came alive in their pages. Then, when I was 13, I read a book called Maud. It was a collection of diaries written by Isabella Maud Rittenhouse between 1881 and 1895, when she was aged 16 to 30. I was immersed in life in Cairo, Illinois. (I have to tell you that I coerced my book club into reading the book, and nobody, but nobody, liked it.) Maud has been my companion for many, many years, and I was ecstatic to be given an autographed copy of the book, - yes, signed by Maud herself! - by one of our book club members. So some books have taken me around the world, and others have taken me into the past. Some make me laugh and others make me cry. The very best books become friends.
Only one of the books in my little stack is in the Plymouth Library. I couldn't resist adding one of my copies of Stella Gibbons' Cold Comfort Farm to the Plymouth collection. I usually select what I hope will be thought-provoking literature for the library, but sometimes, don't you just want something fun to read? The main character, Flora Poste, turned out to be a kindred spirit – she loves to organize things (and people).
I would love to hear from you about your book friends if you would be so kind as to leave a comment. And please do know that Plymouth Library is full of books in need of friends.