I introduced my son to the library last week. He walked around in a state of awe, making his way down the stacks, running his finger over the spines. We each chose three books, and, as we were leaving, he said, "Can we go to the library tomorrow too?"
This is the way I want my son to know books. The way I know books. In book form. No need to turn anything on in order to immerse yourself in a story. No fear of a low battery at an inopportune moment. A break from reality. A break from screens.
I want to read my books in book form. I want to love them up and crease their spines and fold the corners of their pages. You will know which ones are my favorites by sight; they have been loved to shreds. I want that new book smell from a hot-off-the-presses novel by a first time author. I want a quickened pulse as I hear the UPS guy drop a package from Amazon on to my porch. I want the deliciousness of having three new books to choose from on a lazy Sunday afternoon. I want that musty, moldy aroma from a classic that hasn't been checked out of the library in years. I want to tuck that same classic under my arm as I look for a seat at coffee shop. I want to feel the weight of Alice Munro or Wally Lamb or Margaret Atwood in my carry-on as I board a plane. I want to see row after row lined up on our many bookshelves and stacked in piles next to our bed. I want to have the luxury of reading three books at a time just because I can't decide which one I want to read first. I want to read and reread my favorites so many times their characters become family members. I want to write dedications on the first page of books given as gifts to solidify memories that may otherwise fade away. I want to read - and share - my books in book form.
My son will inherit beat-up copies of The Runaway Bunny and Goodnight Moon, and, later, The Hardy Boys and Harry Potter. We will run our fingers over the yellowed pages of the final The Ends. And then we'll read them again.