The Summer I Fell in Love {and not with a boy}


I’m drawn to a deckle edge hardback edition like a moth to a flame.  I can’t help picking it up, fingering the pages, stroking the cover, and inhaling those fragrant tones of glue, linen, and ink as I flip through its pages. I treasure a real book.  Sadly, the Kindle is a poor substitute that must be plugged in or words don’t appear. I turn it on, push a button and then, push another button to turn pages.  No wonderful bookish aroma wafts up as the page turns, no discovering hidden receipts, old bookmarks, notes, or pictures someone has left behind. The corners aren’t dog-eared and stain marks, from crying while reading, don’t exist.  I can’t even discover if Jennifer {hearts} Peter on the end paper.  For me, book reading is a full-on sensory experience.  An experience that began the summer I fell in love with reading.

I don’t recall the actual moment of learning to read but that summer, I remember.  I couldn’t get enough of books. I was having a gorge fest with the written word.  A gawky tween: I was two parts tomboy, 1 part girl.  My mother signed me up to participate in a summer reading program and I received my very own library card.  That card had my name on it.  Monumental.

Growing up in the south, the humidity of summer causes buildings, particularly older ones built before central air, to smell rather musty. That odorous scent combined with old wood and paper permeated the library I frequented when I was young.  Rows upon rows of shelves held my attention and fascination as I gazed at all those book choices.  I was a happy camper and content to look for what seemed like hours.

I know some are drawn to a book’s jacket, preferring to go against the old adage of “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”  I chose books that summer found in the children’s section and they had warm primary colors of rusty red, golden yellow or hunter green covers.  Some depicted pictures in vibrant colors while others were rather plain, adorned only with an ink drawing.  That summer {and true today}, I chose books by their title and their covers.  They had to have that special something that sparked my curiosity.

stack of children's books

Unlike many young girls my age, I wasn’t drawn to the popular stories about horses. I liked adventure stories. I was inspired to dig around a tree trunk in my backyard so I could be like Sam in My Side of the Mountain.  And after I read all of The Borrowers series, I wanted to be small and experience life from their perspective.  I also liked stories about girls who were my age like Laura in Little House in the Big Woods and Caddie in Caddie Woodlawn.  I found stories about people and their accomplishments like Clara Barton and Helen Keller remarkable.  These tales I read taught me about self-reliance, hope, love, and determination.

I looked forward to my trips to the library. I would often check out the book limit and carry a big stack of books home.  If I was lucky, I’d go unnoticed by my mother and be able to make a quick dash to my room, impatient to begin reading.  I would dive right in and often read late into the night with my bed covers over my head and a flashlight so I wouldn’t get in trouble for staying up.  Sometimes, I was discovered.  Other times, particularly when it was time to set the table or help in the kitchen, I’d hide under my bed to continue reading so my mother couldn’t find me.  I mean, seriously, didn’t she understand??  I couldn’t stop now — Nancy was about to solve the mystery and I had to learn who did it.

Each time we returned to the library, I was introduced to new friends and new adventures all found on those inked pages that captured and held my imagination.  Those days instilled in me a life long passion for reading that continues to this day.  When I fell in love that summer, I was given the world.

To view more memoir posts written by other members of the {In}couraging Writer’s Group or to share your own, click here.



“Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.”  John 21:25  NIV Bible

4 thoughts on “The Summer I Fell in Love {and not with a boy}

  1. We are both in love. I was born into reading with a mother who loved books and I’m so happy now, to see my daughter lug her overstuffed book bag down the aisles of our library, heavy under the weight of treasure she’s found. I love how you describe this love of yours. I feel it too. The kindle may be convenient but there’s nothing like the feel of pages under your fingers and the smell. Oh, I love book smell. Thanks so much for linking up with us! I really enjoyed this.

    • Thanks! I’m really enjoying everyone’s posts and being a part of the group. I really appreciate all the work you’re putting into it to make it a great experience for each of us!

  2. Enjoyed reading about your journey that developed a passion for reading. I don’t have any vivid recollection of reading when I was young. I do remember some of the books I read when I was young. . However, I share the same passion for reading.

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