Opening the gates

Step through the gates to exploration and discovery! Poquoson Public Library, Virginia, March 2014

Step through the gates to exploration and discovery!
Poquoson Public Library, Virginia, March 2014

“Books. They are lined up on shelves or stacked on a table. There they are wrapped up in their jackets, lines of neat print on nicely bound pages. They look like such orderly, static things. Then you, the reader come along. You open the book jacket, and it can be like opening the gates to an unknown city, or opening the lid of a treasure chest. You read the first word and you’re off on a journey of exploration and discovery.”
David Almond

Appearances can be misleading, can’t they?  The static, orderly appearance of well-stocked libraries or neat home bookshelves give no hint of the endless adventures awaiting anyone who opens the gates to the wealth contained therein.

The joys of reading have withstood the tumultuous changes of century after century, binding us to each other across continents and eras.  No matter our current circumstances, we can tap into this joy at little to no expense.  What a perfect way to defeat despair!

Some of my favorite adventures have taken place entirely within my own mind, traveling as an invited guest to a front-row seat in worlds far removed from my own.  And some of the most memorable characters I’ve ever had the pleasure to know are fictional; people whose virtues and faults are so familiar that they seem as true to life as any “real” person.

Today I invite you to step through those magical gates to discover people and places new to your life.  Who knows what you might see along the way? Feel free to send us a few virtual post cards in the comments below.

This post was first published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. Judy

    I don’t read as much as you do, Julia, but I do love books! I’m part of an online Christian contemplative group and last evening we finished 9 sessions discussing the book, With, by Skye Jethani. Last week I got Howard Thurman’s autobiography from the local library because I’m eager to learn more about his life. And I recently pulled a book from my own bookshelf and re-read one of the Mitford novels by Jan Karon. I really enjoy the adorable town and characters she has created.

    It seems that l’m increasingly drawn to books that I can actually hold in my hand and enjoy the physical act of turning the pages and feeling the paper between my fingers. I do a lot of digital reading for information but there’s nothing like a real book for curling up in a chair and feeling like you’re with an old friend. Oh, the interesting places and ideas and people you meet there!

    • Hi Judy, getting to this comment late, but YES, I so agree about a “real” book. Having said that, perhaps 8 or 9 out of every 10 books I read now are unabridged audiobooks, simply because they increase my reading time by allowing me to enjoy books while walking, gardening, doing housework (so much more fun when you’re listening to a good author while working) and similar activities. Having said that, certain authors…William Faulkner comes to mind…I can’t fully follow in audio format. But others are BETTER on audio. Hearing Frank McCourt read his masterpiece Angela’s Ashes was wonderful.

      I have an interesting connection to Jan Karon. It’s a long story but suffice it to say that I have a wonderful, handwritten letter from her that she sent to me along with an autographed copy of one of her books. I too love Mitford and as she herself has said many times, “Mitford loves you back.” I have not heard of the other authors you mentioned, but I will look them up as I have the time and opportunity. I’ve said it many times, but it’s more true now than never: I don’t believe I could have survived (or could continue to survive) without the friends I meet in the pages of a book.

      Can you imagine…?

Thanks for encouraging others by sharing your thoughts:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: