Dixie Darr

You Are What You Read

In Books, Finding Your Calling, Lent - Season of Change, Uncategorized on April 10, 2017 at 10:00 am

night bookmobile

Lent – Season of Change, Day 35

I’m not generally a fan of graphic novels, but I pick one up every once in a while because they’re wildly popular, and I think I ought to give them another try. The title of The Night Bookmobile by Audrey Niffenegger made it a natural for me. I love libraries (it’s National Library Week!), especially bookmobiles. I’ve enjoyed several books about people running bookmobiles and this one would seem to kill two birds with one stone – I’d get to read another book about bookmobiles and also assuage my prejudice against graphic novels.

It wasn’t what I was expecting and it had a bizarre ending, which I won’t go into here. It’s about a young woman, Alexandra, who happens upon a bookmobile while she’s out walking in Chicago late one night. She begins to browse only to discover that she has read every book there. It is, in fact, a collection of every book, indeed, every written word she’s ever read, including cereal boxes. She was charmed. “In the same way that perfume captures the essence of a flower, these shelves of books were a distillation of my life,” she thinks.

I want to stay here,” she tells the librarian. “I want to come with you. I could be your assistant.”

That isn’t possible,” he says and tells her he has to leave.

Over the years, she searches futilely for the bookmobile and completely changes her life, going to library school, so she can work in the night bookmobile and be united with her lifetime of reading.

It occurs to me that, while I don’t have a library of all the books (let alone cereal boxes) I’ve ever read, I do have a sort of card catalog of the past 30-40 years of them. That’s how long I’ve kept a diary listing every book I read.

I have often wondered why I never became a librarian. It seems like a natural for someone who loves books as much as I do although my friend Pat, who teaches seminars for librarians all over the country, tells me that librarians don’t really read as much as you’d think. They’re too busy.

George R.R. Martin once said, “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. . . . The man who never reads lives only one.” Ignoring the sexism, I’m sure that in at least one of those alternate lives I’ve lived I was a librarian.

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