Sunday, January 18, 2015

An Old Book is Like a Friend

I stood in awe, staring at row after row of books. My fingers brushed over the worn edges of each used title. Harry Potter e la pietra filosofale, Jane Eyre, Le fiabe grimm. Some of the titles were the same, while others bore their equivalent in Italian. Never before had I been so star-struck standing in a bookstore as I was that day.
Regardless of my adoration for literature, it had been months since I had picked up a novel. I was serving a full-time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and as a result, I had chosen to leave such passions behind me for 18 months. But it wasn't easy.
My companion and I had been walking down the street when this ancient bookstore caught my eye. We wandered in and found the most adorable mini-replica of the Beast's library from Beauty and the Beast. Old, loved books lined the walls from top to bottom, stacked so high it required a ladder to reach them all. In that moment, standing in an old bookstore in Italy, I realized how deeply literature had touched me throughout my life. In a moment when I couldn't read for pleasure, I recognized how my books had changed me over the years and made me who I am today.

Sample of my personal baby library (it's growing!)

Spiritual-literary experiences:

  • Listening to my daddy read his favorite childhood book, The Great Brain by John D Fiztgerald aloud to me and my siblings
  • Writing letters to family and friends
  • Listening to Josh Turner's song Me and God 
  • Reading inspirational quotes on pinterest
  • Writing about my brother's experience with cancer
  • Discussing books with my parents
  • Receiving a treasured antic book from my grandma every year for Christmas
  • Discovering the deep insight in Crime and Punishment in a high school English class


  1. I agree with you. An old bookstore holds some of the most exciting potential for me because as I skim the shelves and leaf through old copies, I find that either memories or potential always greets me with each new book. It doesn't matter where I am, if I can find a bookstore a little bit of home has found me.

  2. I imagine that most English majors have a similar struggle on their missions. I remember missing reading secular books, but also loving the opportunity to learn to read the scriptures in new ways like a favorite book.

  3. I never served a mission, but since I have so much reading as an English major, I have missed doing reading on my own for my enjoyment (even though I usually love what I'm reading in class too).

    I think it's awesome your Grandma got you an antique book every year! Did that influence your major?