Giving books away doesn’t really hit you until you’ve dropped them off in the donation box, and you realize they’re not yours any more. And you don’t realize, until you’ve dropped off your motley collection, that it’s a revelation of who you are (much like rifling through someone’s trash).
I donated seven books to my class charity the other day. (we’re collecting donations of tin foods, children’s toys and books to give out to various homes/places of safety in Montego Bay). It didn’t matter that they weren’t my favourites, it still felt like I was cutting the invisible thread that binds reader and book.
Does anyone else feel that way? As a reader, when I read a book I make a connection; whether or not it’s a good book, I believe in it for the hours or so that I’m invading its world. That connection, for me, is real and tangible. And despite the fact that by the time I’m done with them I’m glad to have finished it, I’ve still read it. I know the story; I know which passages will evoke this memory, that feeling; I know the characters. And regardless of how ‘bad’ a book is, reading it has affected me. It’s changed some thought process, some idea, some way I previously had of viewing the world and myself.
Because that’s what I love about books: the way they challenge you. Reading for me isn’t just about the story – it’s about the aftereffects as well. It’s about what I can learn, how I can reinvent myself, and how I can change the world.
So giving away books is different from giving away cash or even food. It’s a sharing – the hope that the someone who receives it will be touched or changed in some way, that it will be exactly what that someone needs.
I am at one end of a paper cup telephone, waiting to see who’s on the other end of the line.
Half-way mark, guys! Only 26 more posts to go for Project 52!