One day, a few weeks ago, I wanted to read a book.
As a librarian, this isn’t an abnormal thing. As me, it isn’t abnormal either. I’ve been reading books on my own since I was 3-years-old. I usually am reading three to six books at any given moment in time…each of them scattered about my life in strategic places: the car, the restroom, my purse, my bed, the chair by the sunny window.
What was different this time, this desire to read a book, is that I wanted a particular kind of book…one that was sweet, and gentle, a love story, thought-provoking, smart, heart-warming, and life-altering.
Can you think of a single title that fits all those requirements? I certainly couldn’t. I didn’t even know how to go about searching for such a book. However, I decided to heroically browse the shelves at my local library…perhaps stumbling upon the exact and perfect unknown title.
When I walked through the front doors, I instantly was drawn to the fiction section. Yet, when I arrived, I just stood there…next to the row of titles shelved alphabetically by the authors’ last names…from A to C. And I stood some more. I had no idea where to go. My internal list of authors I want to read was completely inaccessible to my brain. So I waited for an impulse.
When it came, I went to that section…scanning for that author to see if she had published a more recent book. As I scanned the shelf, this book practically leapt out at me. It wasn’t a title I was at all familiar with, so I kept scanning the shelf. But then my eyes jumped back to it…the title began to haunt me. In exasperation I took it off the shelf. I committed to reading the first page, telling the book that if I wasn’t captivated back it would go.
I almost missed my bus.
This book has continued to haunt me. Some nights I’ve been compelled to stay up late and be consumed by its words. Other nights I toss and turn as I contemplate the challenges it makes to me in how I conduct and create my life…how I view and cope with loss…love…passion…connection…family…community…purpose…and if I am my own worst enemy or my greatest ally.
Tonight, after six weeks of dating this book, our physical relationship has ended. However, I doubt that the intimacy will fade any time soon. This was exactly the book I wanted…it fulfilled every requisite. And…it might even be a book I need to have in my personal collection…just in case I missed something the first time around.