For as long as I can remember, I have loved books. As a child, I hoarded them in my room, from Laura Ingalls Wilder to Anne of Green Gables to my brothers’ old Choose-Your-Own-Adventures. In grade school, I feigned illness so that I was sent to my aunt Francie’s house, where I could sit in my uncle’s big comfy armchair and read from a pretty leather-bound collection by the front window. I exchanged favorites with my cousin Eileen and raced her through Little Women to see who could finish the biggest book in the school library first. (After a long time coming to Jesus, Neen, I can finally confess to you that I skipped twenty pages towards the end to secure my victory).
I spent four years in college studying them, countless hours leafing through them in libraries and bookstores, and many a late night unable to put them down. Like wine, books make the world rosier, more familiar, easier to appreciate and understand. They are companions with whom I will spend a lifetime…
I had a father-in-law who loved books as well. My husband would argue that he loved to buy them, and that it was my mother-in-law who actually read them. Whatever the facts may be, the truth is that I now think of him when I think of books. His memory is an extension of that rosy world, as are the homes he welcomed me into in Dublin and Westport – homes that were fittingly chock-full of books.
Tomorrow he will be gone four years. As happy as I am that he is a part of my book world, we continue to miss him terribly in this one.