One of the pleasures of moving into a new home is tearing open boxes of books to rescue the favorites packed away for the duration of the move. When driving cross country in a suburban packed with seven humans, space is precious. In fact, the only physical book I carried along on this recent journey was a pocket-sized bible that I tucked into my purse.
E-readers saved me. I had hours and hours of reading available with the press of a few buttons, and I am grateful that I was able to carry a virtual library in the palm of my hand. Still, there’s nothing like a real, bound book.
I like the weight of hundreds of pages in my hands. I like thumbing back to reread a passage, or holding a place with my finger because I know I’ll want to experience a particular phrase one more time. I like the straight edges, firm covers, the sound of shifting pages, the mysterious fragrance that belongs only to books. My e-reader sustains me in difficult times, but it is a thin sensory experience when compared to the comfort of real books.
Wherever I’ve made my home, I’ve always kept a stack of good reads on my bedside table. It’s an optimistic volume of reading material. Some books lie unopened for weeks, but I like to know that they are there, whenever I want them.
This was the box that I unpacked yesterday evening, my bed side table collection, packed away to declutter our last home for showing. I pulled out Patchett, Bonhoeffer and Lee, adding them to Dillard and Kingsolver, picked up for pennies at a library sale last week, and L’amour, gifted by my mother, who knows I have a fondness for his short stories. It was a joyful reunion, welcoming these old friends to my new home.