Today Jarad is sharing a childhood experience that shaped the way he views books and literature.
Sacrilege. I’ve always liked that word. It sounds grandiose, dramatic, like a high crime or grave misdeed has been committed. It sounds dark in a way, one of the words in the English language that feels velvety and rich when it’s said. It’s doesn’t seem like it’s just meant to be spoken though; it’s meant to shouted in a king or queen’s court at a heretic plotting against the crown. Regardless, it’s one of those words I loved since childhood. Since the story of how I came to know the and love the word involves books, I thought I would share it with you.
Firstly, I live in a small town. It has its ups and downs, but one of the good things about it (perhaps the only) is the library. It was built when I was a child, and it’s much better than the small, dark place that came before. The newer library is the complete opposite; it has two stories, both with high ceilings and tall windows, complete with a chandelier and marbled floors. When I walked in for the first time as a ten-year-old, I never wanted to leave. I wanted to hide in the stairwell and lock the doors and explore the place by myself. It seems much smaller now, but at the time it seemed positively enormous. I was there at least once a week if not more. I was mostly drawn to the fantasy section. It was right at the front, to the right of the entrance. It was four shelves, and I read my way through all of them as well as every other part of the library.
It seems inevitable that I made friends with the librarian. She wasn’t there for very long, but she was very nice, and on first glance a very typical librarian (and English major). However, she was not quiet at all; oftentimes, you could hear her down the hall or on the second floor. So much for using our inside voices. She was going to let you know how she felt whether you liked it or not. I always appreciate that.
So, she and I were talking books one day, and I was telling her about how the library at my school was cleaning out the shelves and throwing many of the older books away. I remember the English teachers going down to the library and taking crates and crates of books home with them, because I think it gives all book lovers an icky feeling to think of throwing books away. It seems especially heinous that a library was doing that, a betrayal of sorts. As we were discussing this, she simply, “That’s sacrilege. How dare they?” It was a couple of short, simple sentences, but I remember it very clearly. And it had quite the impact on me; to this day, even if it’s a textbook on economics, I will always donate it. I will never throw books away. Somehow, it feels wrong. And I think it is in some ways. Even if it is the textbook on economics, there is always a possibility that someone else would get use out of or enjoy the book. books are meant to be shared, not thrown in the trash.
Jarad is the co-administrator and writer for Sacred Chickens, attends college at MTSU, loves tea and coffee, and tries to spend every spare second reading. He recently developed an interest (some might say obsession) with gardening. Jarad is an English major with a concentration in literature. Bless his heart! Let's all light a candle for him and send him happy thoughts!