Dear … books,
When I first saw this prompt, I grinned. It seemed like the easiest thing in the world to write a love letter to you, books.
But now I’ve started, I realise that it’s perhaps the hardest. What can I say that will be enough? My love and gratitude for you feels boundless; too much for me to capture in just a few words on this page. You have educated and soothed, transported me across worlds, comforted, entertained and nourished my life for as long as I can remember. A day without you is a day half-lived.
I put one of you in my bag every time I leave the house. The ritual is as instinctive as taking my keys, purse, phone. You never know when a train will be delayed, a meeting postponed. Those tiny fragments of opportunity become chances to spend time in another world, as long as I have you with me.
Through you, I know myself. Through you, I found my scanner tribes, my peers. Through you, I found companions at book clubs, had conversations with strangers, learnt how to cook meals for friends and how to make new ones. I learnt how to grow food, make skincare, learn languages, science, history, find places around the world.
I find you in all kinds of places, at all kinds of times. When I’m feeling a bit lost, I head to a bookshop; you can find all the answers and comfort you seek in a bookshop. And much like Holly Golightly feels about Tiffany’s, I know that in a good bookshop, nothing bad can ever happen to me. I will never be lonely as long as I have your company. Sometimes, when I’m drawn to a bookshop instinctively, I find exactly the book that I need, as if by serendipity, even if I didn’t know that I was looking for it. The world is yours, if you can read. So, sometimes the right book, these days, is a book to read with my children. I want them to love you just as much as I do, and it makes my heart swell to see that they do.
I know that these days, I can’t keep you all. I send you on to new homes after we’ve finished our time together. I like the sense of community that brings, and I remember a lot of you. Some of you, though, I keep close by at all time. I’ve read and absorbed you, time and again, as though you’re an intrinsic part of who I am. I love you the most.
At the moment, many of you are living in storage, in boxes in the garage. When I finally move into a home of my own again, you will come with me. The joy I will feel on unpacking you make up for the fact that although I own you, I still own no furniture. A house becomes a home when there are books in it, so we’ll be fine…
Thank you, books, for making me, me.
PS: Oh, and one last thing, books, let’s be clear on this; I mean the version of you that is paper and ink. That’s really all I have to say about that …