How books find people: An introduction



The Perambulating Library (UK, 1858, Wikimedia Commons)


The book finds you.


In the library, you enter the sea of books; your eyes swim across the stacks, nibbling at the titles. Or the book lures your hand to the shelf to read some pages. Then, the book, the one that is hungry for you, catches you like a fish and reels you in. You may not even feel the hook. Using some sweet bait of words, the book snags your heart or mind and pulls you through its pages into a world or place so new, so old, so strange, so familiar, you can hardly breathe. And when you are thrown back into the world, you are not afraid. You come back to the places the books wait, angling for you.


You don’t find the book; the book finds you.


A book is looking for you; go to the library and let it find you.



Next: How books find people: Libraries

25 thoughts on “How books find people: An introduction

  1. I’ve had that experience too… sometimes, it was something it was something quite irrelevant about the book… the binding, or the way it sat on the shelf… but whatever, I was caught.

    • Books have a thousand tricks to lure us in. When I read children’s books to my grandchild, I always look at the end papers. Sometimes just that makes me love the book.

  2. Spot on. I remember my favorite childhood librarian telling us that the richest people in the world were the ones who walked through her doors. Never forgot. She spoke the Truth. Thanks for bringing her picture back to my mind’s eye. Dan

    • I always wanted to work in a library. I dreamed about reading books all day. Of course, that’s not what librarians do, but that’s what they do in my imagination. (I would probably be fired my first week for hiding behind the stacks reading.)

    • My library kindly sends out e-mails notifying me of upcoming due dates, and, as if that weren’t kind enough, allows me renew online to avoid paying the fines.

      If you don’t have that service, it may be cheaper just to buy books.

  3. Last time I was in a library, I was stalked by a group of books that fell into my arms. I left with more than 8 books (which I could never read in the 2 weeks rental period). I am too weak for libraries!

    • We get three weeks use, but even that is often not enough time for my stacks, so I renew online and get six weeks. That’s one of the advantages of being in a smaller city, I guess.

  4. I’m a voracious reader, but tend to head to the bookstore instead. Then, if it is wonderful, I can add it to the zillions in my house that I re-read happily again and again. If it is pretty good, I loan it to friends. If it is OK then I donate it.

    The problem is the lack of bookstores. All the good ones are going out of business and it breaks my heart. It’s buying knowledge, and who doesn’t want that?

    • I used to buy more books, but these days I tend to use the library more. But I agree, it’s terribly sad to see bookstores go out of business. A few years ago, one of the local bookstores that had been in business went under (partly due to the local college choosing a big box bookstore over them.)

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