Don’t all writers have an insatiable love of libraries? It is the word that drives us and the feel and the smell of books that resonates within us. For me, it was stepping into vertical fields of colorful spines in perfect rows and embarking on that enthusiastic treasure hunt for the next perfect book. My next adventure. Getting that laminated library card was a big day for me. Discovering my love of reading set me on a lifetime road of endless possibilities.
As the only sister in a house full of brothers, the library was my peaceful sanctuary as well. It was only a few blocks from my house, and it was one of the few places I was allowed to go unhindered by my brothers or my parents. It was a safe, quiet place. The children’s wing was in the basement of our local library, and I remember the cool shadowed racks welcoming me on steamy August afternoons. And then the sweaty trek back those few blocks with my arms loaded with as many books as they’d allow me to borrow.
When I was young, I earned and wore the label of “Daydreamer.” My mother still tells of sending me upstairs to get ready for school, and coming to find me an hour later, unwashed, unbrushed, still in my pajamas, surrounded by library books, lost in their pages while the rest of the world moved on without me.
The books I borrowed matured with me, or I matured with them, I’m not quite sure which. They pushed my reading skills and opened my world beyond those early picture books into novels and biographies. I grew within them. Learned with them. Became voracious in my appetites for those things and people I wanted to learn about. I could wander through the racks for hours.
And then when I was around the age of sixteen, I discovered romance novels. Slightly salacious with their seductive covers, a naughty bit of indulgence to whet a burgeoning fantasy life. I fell in love with their rakish heroes, and imagined it was me they were kissing. I read every one I could get my hands on, and totally wrapped myself in their happily ever afters. Historicals were my ultimate favorites with their knights and dukes and heroines in satins and corsets. And pirates, we can’t forget pirates, now can we!
It still boggles my mind that today I write those books, and when It walk into my local library and see my books on the shelf, among the vertical fields, their colorful spines in perfect rows, it fills me with a special kind of thrill. I still have my card, and I’ve still been known to trudge home with my arms full with as many as they’ll allow me to borrow. More than I possibly have the time to read these days. But as is the case as much now as when I was a child, I’m happy to pay those late fees to keep them with me just a few days more!
If you have a local library, you have the world at your disposal. If you don’t, there are online lending libraries I highly recommend. Many have Kindle and Nooks to borrow these days so there are more books available to you than you or I could read in a thousand lifetimes. If it’s been a while since you visited a library, go. Breathe in that smell. Get yourself a laminated card and let the rest of the world move on without you for a while.
WITHIN A CAPTAIN’S POWER/Lisa A. Olech
Captain James Steele is duty bound to capture the privateer Scarlet Night and bring her rebellious crew to England to hang. Then he will leave his majesty’s service, make an upstanding marriage, and join the landed gentry. But the winds of fate are blowing the straitlaced commander utterly off course.
Once aboard, James comes face to face with a pirate boy who is in reality fierce, desperate—and gorgeous—Samantha Christian, on the run from a sadistic Virginia plantation owner. With her identity unbound, the good captain dutifully takes her under his personal command, whereupon decorum goes out the porthole. But while his heart is lost to Samantha by the time they reach England, her noose still awaits. Now James’s sense of duty will be severely tested. As for Samantha, she has a plan, and a duty, of her own…
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