On Thursday nights after supper my dad took my sister and I to the old Seylynn library in the basement of the community hall when North Vancouver was still a suburb being carved out of the forest and mountains.
The first time I chose a book that wasn’t a kid’s book a whole world opened up to me. I was amazed at how much life could be contained within the covers.
In those days the librarians would stamp a card with the due date and slip the card in the pocket inside the book. We would talk during the exchange… expressing shared delight over the magic of reading. An armful of books kept me content for a week.
When they replaced the storefront library with a purpose-built building, it became my go-to place for learning, discovery and dreams. While the “new” library has since been replaced, books have remained my companions.
Until chemo that is. Among the many side effects of chemotherapy, one of the worst for me was the inability to read and understand a whole book. I was unable to follow the story through the chapters. It was as if I was reading French… understanding a few words, a simple sentence, but at the end of the paragraph, not quite sure what it all meant.
My book club was all forgiving. It must have been two years before I was able to read a whole book again… and then it was a short, simple story.
This morning I started reading 419 , the 2012 Giller Prize winner by Will Ferguson. It’s almost as if I was a child again in the Seylynn library. It’s a whole new world I can read and understand. It’s good to be back.