Usually my trips to the library never find me venturing past the rows of shelves just inside the door marked “New Release,” for there are always hundreds of new books of every genre on display ~ from fiction to poetry to biography, science and cookbooks and sports, essays and religion ~I love meandering through this aisle, my neck craned sideways until a definite crick begins to form (and why can’t someone devise a way to shelve books so that we can read the titles without bending our heads into that ridiculous sideways position?)
At any rate, last week I decided to mosey into the nether regions of the library, the rows and rows of general fiction stacks. I always see some old favorites there – since this is the library I’ve been visiting my entire life, there are lots of books that have passed through my hands, many more than once. All of Madeleine L’Engle’s books are here – yes, there’s Camilla, the one I checked out at least seven times during the course of my girlhood. And Jessamyn West’s Cress Delhanty – another adolescent favorite. All of Gail Godwin’s books came home with me from the library, and Elizabeth Goudge, and a bit later, Siddons and then Picoult. I’m sure you’ve noticed my favoritism toward writers of the female persuasion, but I’ve brought a few gentleman home with me over the years…Jonathan Kellerman’s mysteries were a big favorite for a while, and then there were my Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe phases (don’t ask how those got started!)
I was alone there in the stacks, and I began to wonder if my old favorites were chosen very often anymore – after all, most of them weren’t considered “classics,” and there are so many exciting new books being published these days, vying for the readers attention. It made me want to scoop then all up and give them all a thorough re-reading, just so they’d know I hadn’t forgotten what enjoyment they could bring.
Alas, my own bookstacks are overflowing as it is, with so many new stories out there to discover. Perhaps next time, and perhaps just one…
Now tell me, what are some of your favorite reads from the far away past?