Surveying the titles in my collections, I came across some volumes that were once childhood and inherited family books. (I still need to make room for several of my husband’s great-grandparent’s volumes.) I find antique volumes to be surprise treasures. My hands can touch the same pages after a long-expired ancestor. I get excited about copy dates from the 1800s.
Looking at one shelf, I counted nine books that belonged to my paternal grandmother. I know she also had a Bible and a hymnal. But those may have been the extent of her personal library. That grandmother had an eighth-grade education and got married at age 16. Reading by oil-lamp light in the evening was probably a rare treat. Life for Grandma was mostly about doing chores, cooking or preserving food, and making/washing clothes. I also noted three big classic books from my father’s childhood. Dad was able to finish high school and still help with farming.
It would be interesting to see which books from my library the family will choose to save someday. Looking at all of them is like time travel through family history and the decades of my life. Over time, some of them no longer appeal to me, but others are like old friends. I’m donating a pile of books to a support group and a senior center.
I’m blessed with discretionary time during my life to enjoy books. Their stories have shared lives, travel, culture, food, history, religion and science with me. Being able to read is such a profound gift and one that many people through the ages have not possessed. What if… every church had a literacy program? Or created digital recordings of books for the sight-impaired. I would make donations.
Questions for personal journaling or group discussion:
1. What is the last book that made an impact on your life?
2. If you are reading this page you are probably a reader! What do you believe keeps some people from enjoying books?
Karen Spruill writes from Orlando, Florida.© 2002 - 2022, AnswersForMe.org. All rights reserved. Click here for content usage information.