So much of my life has been defined by books.
I remember when Sunday was the longest day ever, because it was the day the public library was closed, so there was no hope of convincing anyone to take me there.
I remember that my mom bought me all the Judy Blume books, even when they were banned in most libraries (although she wouldn't let me give them to my friends for Christmas, in case their parents didn't approve).
I remember the third grade, when I had to have surgery on my tongue (no, I'm not kidding), and this horrifying prospect was made bearable by the fact that I got to buy three -- count 'em, three! -- new books for the hospital stay.
Do you ever find yourself thinking about someone you used to know, and about something they said or did, and then realizing they are not someone you know at all, but a character in a favorite book? I do that ALL the time, and it's weird, I tell you. I cull through my collection at least once a year, but there are many, many books that I will keep forever, because getting rid of them would be like losing a part of my family.
Today, I was finally able to talk to a good friend about my most favorite book in the whole world, The Sparrow. If you have read and liked this book, I consider you an immediate friend, the kind of person I can have a serious conversation with. I think everyone in the world should read it. It makes my chest kind of ache to remember it. I've threatened to make reading it a condition of probation in all the cases I prosecute. (I swear, one day I'll do it, so watch out, criminal underbelly of Louisville.)
All of that to say this: I read a fabulous book while I was on vacation, Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials. It made my chest ache a little, too. And since I finished it, the characters are still with me, just hanging out, in my head. It was just magical, and beautiful, and I think will always remind me of the magical and beautiful places I went.
This picture reminds me of the book:
And so does this one:
And this one (in a scary kind of way):
Anyway, just read it. Or read The Sparrow. Or read whatever it is you like to read, even if it's -- gasp! -- non-fiction. You'll be just ever-so-slightly different afterwards; and you'll have a whole slew of new friends.