Confessions of a Bibliophile :: How Books Can Save a Life

It’s pronounced bib·li·o·phil. But I try to make it sound fancier by extending the last “l” for an additional beat. 

I’ve been told it almost works. 

She’s a lover of books. A connoisseur of odd words. A shameless collector of every Harry Potter edition. 

Bibliophile. 

Me.

Confessions of a Bibliophile :: How Books Can Save a Life | Houston Moms Blog

I can’t recall when the condition started. Scholastic book fairs only worsening my symptoms at an early age. 

I’d like to blame Seuss, but that’s letting my mom off the hook too easily. Her being the one with a valid driver’s license, enabling me to access and utilize my own library card.  

Start ’em young. 

And we need to look more closely into the relationship I developed with my granny. Not a storyteller by trade or appearance, but the one that always had an explanation to why the big bad wolf couldn’t enter my treehouse and why you should leave milk outside your bedroom door for the Boogeyman. She grew my imagination without my consent. Bless her. 

Books have just always been a part of my life. One of my favorite parts. And I’ve only recently began to realize how crucial they have been for my survival. How they continue to save lives; allow us to breathe. 

Confessions of a Bibliophile :: How Books Can Save a Life | Houston Moms Blog

We hold them before we can even speak. Our chubby, sticky fingers seek out flaps and stiff edges. Occasionally, we forget ourselves and give them a nibble. When we find that experience less than satisfying, we seek out alternative activities when the large, hard square is placed repeatedly in front of us. 

Eventually, we recognize it as a source of comfort. Just like the Bringer of Milk and Spaghetti hoped for. 

It reappears at bedtime without fail. Every. Single. Night. A ritual needed to promote curiosity and rest. Two dangerous bedfellows. 

We grow up with them. We start to notice that some of the strange scribbles seem to repeat and since we have heard this same story since our womb days, we can repeat it back to our mother which pleases her to no end. And often leads to praise and an extra kiss; both required for good dreams. 

Confessions of a Bibliophile :: How Books Can Save a Life | Houston Moms Blog

Time to start school. And if you are me, you discover Bill Wallace and Phyllis Reynolds Naylor among the shelves.

You refuse to insult your books by dog-earing them and you start requesting special bookmarks with glitter and/or dogs saying things ironically. This is a new, crazy life for you :: seeking out books before toys. A new creature. 

I can vividly remember one of our early moves, one of the harder ones, unpacking my books. They were the first things I wanted to bring into my new room. The little bit of comfort I could access. It was enough. They somehow always are. 

That wouldn’t be the only time books saved me from wallowing. It was just the first time I remember their power overcoming something I couldn’t do by myself. 

The thing is, I was a very social child. I’m a very social adult, too. I love being around people. So, I’ve always had to figure out ways to balance my time. Because if I could, there is a chance I would never leave a book. But being a human requires more than fantasy worlds and werewolf love triangles. 

Sometimes.

There are times I have hidden in books.

When the world was too scary, too sad, too real to hang around in. When I needed to escape, but couldn’t seem to move my feet.

In middle school when I chopped off all my hair and realized it was mistake, in high school when he chose someone else, in college when I had my first panic attack and didn’t know it was a panic attack, when I moved across the country and felt the first sting of loneliness, in between jobs, after arguments, when tragedy stole my breath, when I questioned my faith, the first night with a newborn {and just about every night since}…

Even if the words were blurry from my tears, they still came through and cradled my head. 

And this isn’t to say that I only turn to books in moments of despair or pain. More often than not, it’s for pleasure. Hence, the paranormal creatures love-triangle. That’s meant to sound exactly as I wrote it. 

There’s like two of you nodding right now. We should hang.

My children adore books. They both celebrated birthdays last month, 6 and 4. So, reading is just becoming a real thing for them. 

Let me clarify, neither can read. Not even close. But the love of books and being read to is strong in both of my critters. I’m sure I’ve let them down in other ways, but when it comes to bringing new worlds, characters, and lessons via words and paper, I have excelled and should be offered a puppy for my efforts.

I’m not opposed to cats that act like puppies, either. 

Books have shown them how beautiful and diverse the world is, a few ways to be brave, and how to be a better human. They’ve learned about other cultures, dinosaur bones, and what it would be like to live on one of Jupiter’s moons. 

We’re read through thunderstorms, train rides, and upset stomachs. 

I hope it’s something they carry with them for the rest of their lives :: their love of reading and the power they can wield between their fingertips. And that they never forget, bookmarks trump dog-ears EVERY TIME.

And when they are ready, when they proven themselves to be voracious enough, or you know, just show ANY interest whatsoever. I will gift them each their own copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. 

I have a few to spare. 

 

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One Response to Confessions of a Bibliophile :: How Books Can Save a Life

  1. Vicky
    Vicky September 30, 2019 at 7:57 pm #

    Love this. I relate so, so much. =)

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