I recently realized that I have not read a book for recreational purposes in over 5 years; this realization devastated me. I love to read, I always have. What happened? When did I stop reading? I do not recall it being an active choice; however, I can remember that last book that I read and where I was when I finished it.
I suddenly could feel an emptiness in my chest, a hollow sensation that I needed to fill. The question now was, with what? I am not the same person I was half a decade ago. What do I even like to read? I was distraught. I turned to the internet for help. Much to my dismay, I had to KNOW what genre I enjoyed before I could even get suggestions.
I will join a book club. That should be easy right? WRONG. I needed a book club that I could attend virtually not physically as my current lifestyle does not include outings of one. I stumbled upon an Instagram run by Reese Witherspoon, Reese’s Book Club X Hello Sunshine. YES!
Her January pick was The Library Book by Susan Orlean. I hopped over to my B&N account to see what it was about. I read the free sample and fell in love! For the next 3 days I pined over this book, not really wanting to ask my husband to buy it while simultaneously waiting for him to order it. He waited until I had stopped starring at it in my B&N cart and last night, he presented it to me!
I have since submerged myself into this book. I could not sleep, I HAD to keep reading. I have not felt this emotionally connected to a literary work in ages. I was in 7th grade the last time a book had this much impact on me. The gaping emptiness in my chest was full once again.
This is a nonfiction book written about the biggest library fire in American history. I sobbed when reading the list of irreplaceable items that vanished in the inferno. I felt ill when Orlean began naming the copious amounts of libraries that are no longer with us due to violent acts of malice throughout history; the largest loss of literature in modern history, being the second world war.
This book truly a work of art, what begins as research of a devastating fire becomes a captivating account of the interworking of a world with infinite with knowledge and imagination. I have not finished reading this magnificent book and it has already deepened my preexisting obsession with books, libraries, journals, and all things literary. Orlean offers such a compassionate insight into the unremarkable value of libraries.
This is a MUST read!