We’ve turned the corner. As my husband says, Summer and Autumn have begun their tug of war. And with the change comes my longing for some old friends . . . books.
I am one of a family of bookish girls. My mother trekked us weekly to the library, located in a larger town twenty or so miles from us. I recall the first time, from the back seat of the Chevy, I began reading aloud a new book procured from there, “Go Dog, Go”, surprising my mother enough to stop the car and watch me. I was blessed to have two older sisters, both willing to read to me, pointing at each delicious word as the pages flew past.
There was an older woman in our small town who took my mom under her wing. To us, she was Grandma Bernice. And she had all the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books in floor-to-ceiling shelves built under her staircase. Best of all, she allowed me to read them, two at a time. I voraciously devoured them all. Those blue covers, with Nancy and her magnifying glass embossed on the front, the single picture after the title page, the deckled edges of the pages . . . bliss!
These two older sisters had bookshelves to raid, too. My sister Bonnie introduced me to Mary Stewart. Nostalgia and book weather induced me to download “Madam, Will You Talk?” onto my Nook reader last week. Mary Stewart writes in first person. Her novels are destination pieces, with the location serving as a main character. Reading this book again feels like looking into a murky photograph of myself. I’m realizing why I’ve always wanted to visit the south of France: it was this book, with the heroine tearing around the countryside in her convertible, eluding the handsome bad guy who turns out to be the good guy. The French expressions and place names are sprinkled liberally throughout. So many of the words and sentences tickle some distant place still mapped in my brain.
I was blessed to have been born into a family of book lovers.
Now please excuse me. I’m headed to the Isle of Skye. (“Wildfire at Midnight”, Mary Stewart)