Recently I read a line that spoke of a child who reads as they are growing up becomes an adult who thinks.
Last week, while in Arizona visiting family, I walked into a used book store. No sooner had I crossed the threshhod than I stopped and took a deep breath. The owner of the store came up to me and asked if I was okay. I said I was simply breathing in the smell of hundreds of books. I told him that even though digital books are becoming more and more popular, there still is nothing that can compare with the smell of a room full of books.
I remember opening my first book at the age of 4. From then on, I was in love with books. By the time I finished my sophomore year in high school, I'd read my way through the school library. Moving on to the public library, I found myself traveling back to medieval times in England. I was on a ship with Sir Francis Drake, explored the New World, was mesmerized with tales of different cultures. The music from the cotillions in the Deep South echoed in my head.
Reading through a murder mystery turned me into a detective. I stood beside scientists, doctors, lawyers, teachers, humanitarians, philosophers, theologians as they followed their path through life.
Picking up a book of fiction, I was immediately immersed in the story and in my mind could see the story unfold. I "saw" the characters and "heard" their voices. I was in their world so much so that it was with effort I returned to the world around me.
I have been inspired, comforted, taught, and challenged by books.
I read to my children before they were born. From the time they were very small they were surrounded by books. I scoured through second hand stores and yard sales to find books for them to read. Many times books were included in their birthday and Christmas presents.
A few years ago, I designed a bookmark that reads "The world awaits me between the pages of a book."
Over the years I've watched my children open a book and take off on a new adventure or study a subject that interests them. They've learned to think for themselves, to pursue knowledge, to be open to new ideas and different ways of thinking -- all because they've opened a book.
And now I buy books for my grandchildren in the hopes that they, too, will have a lifelong love for them, just as I've had.