Is there anything better than accidentally coming across a marvelous book? I’m not talking about one of the over hyped novels that everyone has read that you finally spot on a Target shelf and feel like you have to buy because, well, everyone has read it and you need to be in the loop. Generally speaking those books do turn out to be good reads. Not always mind you, but often. But it’s not the same as making a chance discovery and feeling like you’ve gotten hold of a little known treasure.
No, I’m talking about standing at the counter of a tiny local children’s bookstore, waiting for the three birthday presents that you’ve just purchased to be wrapped. (Three presents for two birthdays because I just couldn’t bring myself to get one present that twins could share. I kept picturing one twin having nothing to unwrap and being so sad. No one should be sad on their birthday so I got a present for each. What can I say, I’m a sucker for little kids.) Your eyes wander around the bright cheerful store and you stand close to the counter so that you won’t be tempted by all the shiny new books calling to you to pick them up and love them. The lady wrapping your three CDs (Shh, don’t tell the birthday kids.) is taking an insane amount of time in the back office and your resolve starts to wane. You inch closer to a bookshelf and flip through a book detailing the history of Little Golden Books. And then out of the corner of your eye you spot a pretty nondescript book just resting on the corner of the top shelf.
You try to ignore the thick beige book*, but your eye keeps coming back to it, like a tongue poking at a loose and aching tooth. Finally, since the woman still hasn’t come back, you pick up the chunky tome and flip open to a random page. Before you know it your three gaily wrapped and beribboned packages are in your hand, but you’re handing over your credit card again, because this Plain Jane book that you tried so hard to ignore? Well there’s no way you’re leaving it to languish on the shelf. How would you ever find out what was going to happen to that cute boy? The test? Did he pass? And what was it for?
You leave the store and head straight for your car, all other errands completely forgotten. You turn on the engine to get the AC going and you settle in for a little read (Not too long, there is work to be done at some point!). You open the book to the first page and take a deep breath before letting the story draw you in. For the first time in a long while you feel the tug of a captivating tale spun by a talented writer. It feels like coming home.
I really missed reading. It feels good to want to read again.
*Maybe I’m late to the party. Maybe everyone has read this already, but I’m only half way through The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart and I’m loving every word. How this is not being touted as the next Harry Potter is beyond me. The story is fantastic and the writing impeccable. A real treat, I promise.