And The Book Moves On

I had a great day today, one that left me smiling.  Great enough that even though I should be doing my last minute packing for Imaginales right now, I’m typing this instead. 

It started  when I noticed a gaping hole in my book case a few days ago.  I know my books and I notice when one is gone, especially when it’s from my ‘special’ shelf of books written by friends  that I’ve enjoyed reading.  And there was a hole there amongst the Brusts and Bulls and McIntoshes and McIntyres and Morgans and Etc.  Hm. 

My grandchildren were in residence and frequently the decimate my book shelves but usually they raid my kids’ books shelf.  Not my shelves.  Something was definitely going on.

However, the next morning, I discovered this:Book in Bed with Cat

The book had obviously been chosen for the night with the big orange cat.  A high honor.  Rather impulsively, I shot a picture of it, thinking Jane might enjoy seeing where her book was currently visiting.

But over a couple of days, I noticed that the hole remained on my shelf.  The next time  we went to visit the pocket farm down at McKenna, the grand kids went along. And, later in the day, I discovered this in the guest room:

The book had apparently decided to leave my house and go for a journey in a back pack.  Not the safest thing for a book to do, especially with a ten year old.   I snapped a second photo and suspected I was about to lose a book.  I decided to document our parting.

I came in from mowing the lawn in the afternoon to discover this,despite my ‘please don’t mix food with my books’ rule :

The book had made it into the kitchen for lunch.  And I was beginning to see that perhaps it was not my book anymore at all.

And at the close of the day, as we were getting ready for the long ride home, I noticed this:

Dog, sunglasses, book.  Not in the back pack but handy for the ride. Yes. She’s ready to take her book and head back to Tacoma.

It should not surprise anyone that I have not seen the book since.  Obviously it was tired of simply rubbing shoulders with other books and has discovered a more adventurous reader.  It’s not the first time a book has decided to move out of my house.  What makes this a moment is that this is a book I really enjoyed and was looking forward to introducing to someone ‘at the right time.’

But I guess I wasn’t paying close attention to how much someone was growing as a reader.  Luckily, the magic still works, and somehow the book and the kid found each other at the right time, and they have gone off together. 

I am sure that the book will quickly forget that it was ever ‘my’ book.  It may live on a shelf at another house, or under a pillow and ride around in a back pack.  It’s that sort of a book.   I hope that eventually, I’ll see if again.  When I do, the shiny dust jacket may be a bit worn and tattered, there may be splotches on the pages, and bits of paper used as book marks.  In short, it may end up looking somewhat like this:

And if it does, the book should be well pleased with itself.  It will have completed its journey and become, not just a book, but a friend.

14 Responses to And The Book Moves On

  1. This post made me smile. Some of my best thumbed books are actually yours, which do the rounds between my house and my mothers, before coming home to be reread.

    I’ve love to know what’s in your special shelf, because I’m always looking for new authors to discover.

  2. Aw, I think the best books are the ones you love so much you just can’t bear to part with them, and even when they’re falling apart and you’ve read it so many times you’ve memorised it, you just can’t pull yourself to throw it out! I have one of my great grand mother’s book series (‘The Borrowers’ by mary Norton) which is over 100 years old now! Hope it lasts another 100!

  3. You have to let books go, but how wonderful that this one was chosen like this. Magic.
    And i have to tell you that I am so enjoyying the Blood of Dragons.

  4. Awesome story. My boyfriend (bibliophile of the highest category) could learn from this, haha. I hope that some day, when I have kids, lots of holes appear in my bookcases and that those books end up traveling like this one.

  5. Ah, beautifully written!

    My copies of your books look like that. Especially the Farseer trilogy, I think I need to get new copies.

    When do you show up in Sweden?


  6. What a magical post Robin. Your description of the book’s journey warmed the cockles of my heart, thank you.

  7. Yes, I loved it too. It left a wide smile on my face and my first thought was: that’s why she is such a brilliant story teller. Thanks for this little “in-between-story”, Robin !

  8. This is just awesome! My daughter raids my bookshelves all the time, and I hope it continues if and when she has children.

  9. It’s always good to see a book continuing to do exactly what it’s supposed to do even after the first reader has put it down.

  10. I love this story. It is the reason why I buy actual books at real bookstores. Once I finish a great book, having fallen under the spell of someone like Robin, I put the book back on a shelf. Sometimes I just gaze at them, recalling their wonder. If a friend is over and looks at my treasures, I jump at the chance to tell them of my favorites. I pull one down and offer it. I don’t get them all back, but its my dream that each one will find another reader and spread the joy it gave me once upon a time.

  11. A quick step back in time to the log house in the woods. A 13 or 14 year old slip of a girl was up to her eye balls in J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and then LOTR. I was into hard science fiction at the time and belonged to a science fiction book club which sent me a box of top published works each month. You of course were that young girl and introduced me to the fantasy side of fiction. This post and the worn Hobbit picture, reminds me of those visits to the house where a Dragon, a Gorilla, a Rain Dear, and even a Hyena hung out. My Tolkien books have migrated to my offspring over the years and my Hobb shelf will be given to my oldest son John for my grandson when he is old enough. (First U.S. Editions all save one.)
    For Moms and Dads read to them early and often. Musings of a 71 year old.

  12. This tale warmed my heart.

    My Farseer books will look like that very soon, especially Assassins Apprentice that you signed for me in Melbourne not that long ago. My Tawny Man trilogy isn’t far behind, along with the Live ship books after that.

    Just about to finish Fools Fate yet again and still every time i read through these two trilogies i find more little details linking parts of Fitz life together that i didn’t remember from earlier readings. Forever learning something new even after I’m sure i know them off by heart this time!

    Never have i read stories i loved as much as i do yours.

  13. Brilliant! Thanks for sharing this. That story made my day. To look at that scenario not as losing a book, but as letting it be enjoyed by someone else, is fantastic, and it’s already got me thinking more kindly about those to whom I’ve loaned books which haven’t returned.
    It also reminds me that my somewhat battered copy of Assassin’s Apprentice is due for another read :).