by: Tricia Kok, Assistant Librarian
Librarians have stories to tell about how they developed their love for books. We also regularly hear love stories from library users. Whether their love began in a library, school, or at home — and whether they began reading for escape, comfort, delight, or from pure boredom — the stories are fun to hear.
In literature, one of my favourite quotes comes from Holden Caulfield in Catcher in the Rye: “What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.”
During our lives, we all encounter authors and books that we not only enjoy, but that have formative influences on our lives by what they have said, suggested, or helped us imagine. For example, Philip Yancey writes in the Washington Post, “Books help define who I am. They have ushered me on a journey of faith, have introduced me to the wonders of science and the natural world, have informed me about issues such as justice and race. More importantly, they have been a source of delight and adventure and beauty, opening windows to a reality I would not otherwise know."
During my high school years, this defining book was Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. My family made a life-changing move from Japan to New Jersey during this time. As an introvert and third-culture kid trying to figure out western high school culture, I frequently felt like I had landed on another planet. During this time, Mere Christianity was required reading for my catechism class, and one paragraph in particular stood out for me: “The real problem of the Christian life comes where people do not usually look for it. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back...letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in.” C.S. Lewis’ words helped me during a difficult time, and have stayed with me all my life.
In an age when the dangerously strong pull of the internet may keep us from picking up a book, we want to remind everyone about the importance of reading. The Peter Turkstra Library has created a display, and we are eager to hear your stories. What books (besides the Bible) have been formative in your life? Whether it's Green Eggs and Ham, A Wrinkle in Time, Anne of Green Gables, Pride and Prejudice, Frankenstein, or Augustine’s Confessions, we would love to hear from you. Please take a few minutes, stop by the library, and fill out a slip of paper with your favourite book titles. Adding a few sentences about how the book impacted your life would be even better!