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How Books Saved my Sanity

Classroom Corner Winner March 2010
by BCNewsletter
March 11, 2010
Books have always held a special place in my heart, perhaps more so than most bibliophiles. They have always had the remarkable ability to calm me when I am angry to upset. I love to pick books off of my shelf and just clutch them to my chest with one hand whilst stroking them with the other, much like one would do to coax a baby to sleep. Most of the time I don’t even need to hold one to calm down; just sitting in the quiet next to my bookshelves does the trick. When I am around books I simply feel peaceful, almost as though the books are emitting some kind of invisible relaxing aura.

Until I was 16 nobody seemed to understand my fascination and excitement with books. My mother is the only other person in our house that loves to read, but she feels no comfort or calm around books like I always have and probably always will. When I was a young girl I never understood why she, nor anybody else I knew, didn’t share my passion. I always though that they were the weird ones.

It wasn’t until June of 2007, three months shy of my 17th birthday, that I found out why I am the way I am. When the therapist went over my test results and compared them to the signs and symptoms, he discovered that I have a minor case of Aspergers Disorder (for those who don’t know, Aspergers is a form of Autism). One of the biggest signs is an obsession with some kind of arbitrary item, movie, person, band, etc. My obsession is books.

I can recall plenty of times as a child that I would be scolded when my obsession flooded into other peoples lives. In elementary school I looked forward to Mondays because it meant a class trip to the library, where I would sometimes just stand and stare at a random bookshelf full of books, even if I didn’t want to read them. I would also come after school several days a week just to sit in the peace for a few minutes, which would make my parents mad when I was late, though they always knew where to find me.

My parents thought I would outgrow my affair, but they were wrong. In middle school, junior high, and high school I would spend every lunch hour in the library. Most of the time I would do homework, but often enough I would simply wander up and down the aisles sticking my hands out so my fingers gently brushed the spines of each book. Every so often I would randomly stop, sit down, and take out various books to absently browse through, even though I didn’t remember much of what was said. I simply needed to hold a book in my hands.

I would visit the library so often that all the librarians and assistants knew me by name. Most of them would even give me books they thought I might like, allowing me to be first to read many of their brand new books, books that hadn’t yet been up on the shelves for everyone else. To this day I still keep in loose contact with my middle school and high school librarians.

Someday, when I have children, I hope to impress upon them my love of books in the hopes that they might glean some of the joy I feel each time I pickup a book. But until then, I have BookCrossing and all of its wonderful members to feed the fire that is my passion.

This essay is the March winner for the BookCrossing Classroom Corner, a semi-regular feature of our semi-regular Newsletter. For details how to enter the contest, please click here.

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