Solace and Joy
I know the power of books. They can change your life.
Oft times I look out over my library and smile. This is my job. I get to go to work and read, and talk about reading, and convince others to read. And they pay me. Not much, but still. They.Pay.Me! This is not the life I imagined for myself. But it is the life necessary to be me. You see, I’m a member of the nerdy book club because I was born that way. I grew up in small apartment, one of 15 children. That’s right; 15. Now, don’t freak, we weren’t always in the house together. But there were always too many people, too much noise, too little room. I could not wait to leave. But, people didn’t leave my neighborhood. Unless they left in the back of a squad car. Or an ambulance. We lived on the south side of Chicago, in the ghetto. A place that no longer exists. That’s how bad it was. The thing that saved my life, that helped me get out, that made me who am I am today, was a book. Books kept me out of trouble, mostly. Off the street. Books showed me that a better life existed, and I could have it. I owe it to the book and the bookmobile.
Now, really it wasn’t just one book. There were many. I read everything I could get my hands on: Barbara Cartland, Harlequin Romances, Nancy Drew, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Jules Verne, CS Lewis. The list is long and varied. Books are where I went to get away from my life. The yelling, the screaming, the hunger, the cold, the crowding. When I was reading, I was gone. I was living in the book. I was barely aware of the world around me. At least for a few hours. I found a solace and a joy in books.
Now, look at me. I’m in the perfect postion. I get to give back what was given to me. And they pay me for it. I don’t know how I ended up here. But I know it’s where I should be. A proud, loud, card-carrying shirt wearing, mug drinking member, of the nerdy book club. Life is sweet. Books made it so.
Kathy Burnette– Mom, Reader, Middle School Librarian.