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Reading Led Me Here

How this reader became a Bookcrosser
by Vysion
February 24, 2004
I grew up on books. I cherished them as a child with a threadbare doll. I inhaled them like the scent of fresh baked bread. I read and reread my favorite adventures, experiencing the action afresh. However as I aged, my free time for books faded away. Sometimes I'd pick one up that continued a series I had read, but my explorations in reading ended. A few months before I learned of Bookcrossing, I gave away six boxes of books (over half my library) making room as I moved into a new house. Books were not on my mind. A small candle in the soul of my life went out.

But books were always part of me. I remember my grandfather helping me learn to read my first books. I remember my mother reading a big red book of Bible stories to tuck me in at night. I remember going to school with my schoolbooks under my arm, always topped with a personal book to read while waiting for class to begin. I remember holding my place with one of several Garfield bookmarks with tassels of colored yarn. I remember waiting eagerly for each month's arrival from the children's book club my mother had ordered. I remember my school's read-a-thon (a month of books) and tying for first with a student who read Little Golden books, while I read hundred page novels. I remember my first 1000 page novel, Centennial, assigned by my middle school history teacher. I remember riding the school bus home and missing my stop twice while engrossed in Tolkien's world of hobbits.

When I read, I lose touch with the world around me. I dive into the story, seeing and smelling and hearing the book, to the exclusion of all else. It is a single-minded focus. I know the characters, the worlds they roam, and the paths they live. I adventure with them, wondering what happens to them when the pages end.

One day I picked up the newspaper in the break room, waiting for lunch to microwave. On the front page of the Life section was an article about Bookcrossing. I saw the word, book, and decided to read the article, but I didn't do anything else. Later that day, it occurred to me. I loved books but never looked online to see what this new Internet provided for the world of literature. I recalled the Bookcrossing article, typed www.bookcrossing.com, and my candle relit.

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