While driving up to Maine for our anniversary getaway last month, my husband asked if there was anything I especially wanted to do while we were on vacation. My reply? “Find a used bookstore!” And so we did.
When we walked through the door, the thrill of book-chasing filled me. Bookcases filled the walls from floor to ceiling, towering tall over our heads. My nostrils tingled with the aroma of books: paper, dust and print. Stacks of books were on the floor, in boxes and on tables. Bindings of every color and books of every shape, paperback and hardcover beckoned me to crane my neck and read their titles.
It reminded me of a quote from Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart:
The books in Mo and Meggie’s house were stacked under tables, on chairs, in the corners of the rooms. There where books in the kitchen and books in the lavatory. Books on the TV set and in the closet, small piles of books, tall piles of books, books thick and thin, books old and new. They welcomed Meggie down to breakfast with invitingly opened pages; they kept boredom at bay when the weather was bad. And sometimes you fell over them.
Books feel like home. I think I could find a corner in nearly any bookstore and find a book-world to lose myself in. And this time, that corner was the biographies, surprising enough since literature and children’s fiction tend to be the homiest spot for me. It was a surprise for myself, quite honestly. I hadn’t had much luck in the children’s section – a smaller selection there than I’d hoped – and I always feel overwhelmed by shelves of adult fiction, as it is much more of a challenge to find treasures there. My head dizzy with titles and author names that I didn’t like or even recognize, I moved on.
And as I walked past the shelves of biographies, my neck craned upward and angled to read spines, I saw her name.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh.
I read her first diary, Bring Me a Unicorn, a few months ago and honestly wasn’t sure if I loved it enough to warrant moving on to the four other books in her collection of journals and letters. Still, I found a stool to perch myself on and, with the extra 12 inches of height it afforded me, pulled the two journals out from between a biography about her and her book North to the Orient.
The third and fourth journals, entirely out of sequence in the quintet, but at $4.00 and $12.00 respectively, how could I resist such bargains when I knew that they go for over $20.00 each on Amazon.com? I paged through them and read snippets. Just as brilliant with prose as with Bring Me a Unicorn, plus the last book covered the start of WWII, which sounded immensely intriguing.
I tucked them under my arm and hopped off my perch. They were coming home with me, I was determined. And so they did, along with a nice shiny treasury of Calvin & Hobbes (totally classic and essential for my husband to be introduced to). And just as I felt entirely at home in that bookshop, I think my new book friends feel just as home sitting on my bookcase here at home – or in my hands as they have been often for the last month.
And as May turned out to be the month of reading Anne Morrow Lindbergh, thoughts on Locked Rooms and Open Doors and War Without and Within will come as soon I have them organized into something readable!