I have loved the library ever since I was a little kid. It was always one of my favorite places to go and remains so today. It’s also one of the best bargains on the planet. After all, where else can you go to get so much great entertainment for absolutely free? They have books, e-reader titles, movies, music, video games and even art that you can borrow for nothing more than a promise to return the items within a reasonable time-frame of usually three weeks (depending upon the item). That’s why reading is my number one hobby. Not only is it enjoyable, it’s frugal, unlike so many other hobbies which usually involve a lot of time and money.
I personally enjoy reading fiction for the escape factor, mainly mysteries and thrillers, although I do love the occasional love story or life-affirming journey. I usually pick a series to read every summer. Last year, I read the China Bayles series by Susan Wittig Albert. I enjoyed this mystery series very much and found it to be intelligently written. I’ve read them all now and am eagerly awaiting Susan’s next one, which is due out next April.
This year I’m reading the Miss Julia series by Ann B. Ross. I haven’t read all of these yet – I still have five to go before I catch-up. I love these books. They are also intelligently written and a whole lot of fun to read. They’re not mysteries, although some of them have a little mystery thrown-in. Mostly, they’re a peak into human nature and I like that. I love the characters and feel as if I really know them, or want to know them. It’s a southern-set series and I also get the urge to say things like “yessum”, real drawn-out like.
In addition to working my way through the Miss Julia series, I’ve also read a few other books this summer. One book I picked-up strictly because I liked the title and found it to be one of the best I’ve read in a while. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a fantastic book that details the German occupation of Guernsey, England, through the form of letters. Juliet Ashton receives a letter from a stranger, a founding member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, and begins a correspondence with him that grows to include the other members of the Society. It’s through these letters that the story unfolds and I didn’t want to put the book down because I couldn’t wait to see what happened next.
In addition to going to the library, the library is now coming to us! This summer a book mobile started coming to our neighborhood and my kids have taken full advantage. The first time it came I was so excited, I couldn’t stand it. The kids and I rode our bikes over to the neighboring street and we eagerly boarded. It was then I realized the bookmobile was a children’s library. I was so disappointed. J laughed at me (not in a mean way, but a “you’re silly” way) because he thought I knew it was for children. I did not. I’d never been on one before, although I do have to say I still enjoyed the experience. It’s a real little library on a bus. Benches, carpet, air conditioning, shelves of books, art on the walls – the whole bit. Even though it is a children’s library, I’ve still found books to read. I found a couple that I had read in the 4th or 5th grade. From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg was one of my all time favorites in the 4th grade. Reading it again was sort of trippy and I found I still love it after all these years. The idea of running away is still delicious to me in that secret kind of way you think about those sorts of things. I knew it wasn’t really a good idea then and now I’m a serious adult with real responsibilities and a family I love, and would never, ever leave, but the kid deep down inside of me still fantasizes about how amazing it would be to live inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. Of course, these modern-day security systems pretty much make that impossible and my mortgage is due on the first, but I digress.
Yes, the library is, and shall remain, one of my favorite places to go. I love the way it smells, too. It brings a certain sense of peace and tranquility that just can’t be bought. If you haven’t checked-out your local library, I encourage you to do so. Not only do they lend books and movies, they usually have free programs for kids and adults, computers that can be used and our library system is even part of a state-wide lending system, so if something isn’t available from our county system, they can get it somewhere else in the state, including a few large universities. All for free. Of course nothing is ever free, is it? It does take tax dollars to run the libraries and I always make sure to vote for those levies. I also use them and feel that it’s my duty to help support them, so I give during their fund-raisers and buy books during their book sales, as well. I also support them with our inevitable late fees because being a one-car family sometimes hinders things like returning books by their due date and I often forget to renew them online.
What have you been reading this summer? Please share!