I live in rural Massachusetts, which is not always the easiest place for a bookworm to be. Luckily, reading fuels the imagination, so I have been able to come up with some ideas for quenching my book cravings.
My town has a population of around 2,000 people. Our regional high-school has less than 400 students from seven different towns. As a result, the community is very close-knit and most everybody knows each other. In addition to the school, my town has three restaurants, a gas station, three stores in which basic groceries can be bought (most people still drive the twenty-five minutes to larger supermarkets with more options), a post office and a library. Since things are usually pretty quiet in the hills, the library is an important aspect of life. It acts as a meeting place, hosts great programs and most importantly, provides books!
Our library consists of one room that houses a magazine rack, children’s corner, young adult section and adult section. There are about five desktop computers for the patrons to use, which are very helpful to the community because in some parts of our school district, there is no high-speed internet access. The library is open Wednesday through Saturday, so during lazy summer months (when I can average a novel a day) the wait for new material can be unbearable.
The young adult section is basically four bookshelves packed with a variety of titles. Most of these books are at least a few years old --- lots of the classics are much older. Although I wouldn’t consider myself a huge fan of classic literature, I did learn to love a few titles. CHARLOTTE’S WEB and Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books were favorites when I was younger, and I really enjoyed reading GONE WITH THE WIND and MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA in more recent years. Needless to say, being an avid reader, I’ve already read the majority of the books in my library, so I often resort to inter-library loan.
Without inter-library loan, I have no idea how I would access any semblance of current books. The nearest bookstore is located at least a half-hour from my house. I don’t have an e-reader and rarely order books online. Usually, I look at websites such as Teenreads.com to read up on new books. Then I give a list of the titles I would like to the librarian who orders them for me. The books come from somewhere near Boston, so the wait is usually pretty long. If the book I request is a popular title, it could be a month or two before I get my anxious hands on it.
Since the most convenient bookstore, Barnes and Noble, is a substantial distance from home and we only visit occasionally, it is a real treat when we go there. My sisters and I love the thrill of riding the escalators up to the young adult section where we could easily spend hours poring over titles.
Although nothing quite compares to the smell or feeling of a fresh book, I have learned to adore second-hand books, as well. I love the annual book sale our library hosts, and I always paw through boxes of books at yard sales. It’s fun to dig around because you never quite know what you’ll find, and I always find great deals.
My friends and family are another great source for books. I often borrow books from them and sometimes lend out my own. It seems so wasteful to buy a book, read it once and then stick it on a shelf, so I always try to share a good book with others.
In the event that I have absolutely no books to read, I try to comprehend my mom’s “Time Magazine,” read the newspaper (locally or online) or write. Since I’ve always lived in the same area, I’m used to the search for new reading material to quench my insatiable thirst for books. Although getting the books I want can be challenging, I find that I appreciate them more once I finally obtain them.