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The Smell of Books
I have always loved reading, at least I think I have. My earliest memories of books are hazy images of warmth, security, and a sense of peace and safety. The smell of books will forever conjure up these feelings. The odd part is that even though I chose to embrace books, I have never thought of myself as smart. Perhaps, to better understand, we should start at the very beginning. I was born toward the end of an age when women seldom had drivers licenses much less college educations. Wives and mothers were expected to stay at home, feed and clothe their children, keep the house clean, and care for their husbands. My motherwas a good wife, but my father was not a good husband. By the time I was one-year-old, mom and I were …show more content…
He needed to study, so he took me to the university with him. I reveled in the smell of the library. I would watch all those people hunched over all those books. I would wonder what they knew and how I could learn it too. He would sit for hours poring over his books, his pen slowly underlining as he read. I was transfixed. I received books of my very own to look at and paper and pencils to draw with. I would sit in that big hushed library, surrounded by shelves and shelves of unknown knowledge. I longed to be just like him. I would carefully trace lines in ink under the words in my books, seeing the ABCs, repeated over and over again. Soon, I began see patterns and sounds, and suddenly the world exploded. I began to …show more content…
They wanted to play games or play with dolls. I wanted to be at the library where the smell of old paper called to me. I made friends within the pages of stories. I reveled in the diverse worlds I discovered. I read classic fairy tales by Han Christian Anderson and The Brothers Grimm. I explored impossible worlds with Jules Verne, Jonathon Swift, and Daniel Defoe. I learned to care about humanity with Charles Dickens. I wept bitter tears of loss with Wilson Rawls. I breathed deep the smell of the prairie grasses with Laura Ingalls Wilder, I listened to the lyrical language of the South with Margaret Mitchell, and I bathed, almost hedonistically, in the sweeping worlds of Narnia and Middle Earth with C. S. Lewis and J. R.R. Tolkien. I could lose myself in a story, hear the lines of the book being read in my mind. I would feel the wind on my face, the sun or rain on my head. I would laugh and cry. I completely understand the words of Eudora Welty, “There has never been a line read that I didn’t hear. As my eyes followed the sentence, a voice was saying it silently to me” (Welty 51). By the time that I entered high school, I no longer felt lonely. I had so many stories in my imagination. The characters, their lives, and adventures were constant companions to me. I don’t know why I didn’t think I was smart, I just never thought about it. Books were just a part of who I was. A part of the

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