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.