A few days ago while I was perusing Tumblr (as I often do during quick breaks in my day) I came across a post stating that there was nothing happier or more peaceful than a Scholastic Book Fair. It had been a long time since I had thought about those book fairs, but reading the post sent me back to elementary and middle school, when I would count the minutes until lunchtime, AKA, visit-the-book-fair-time. I would scarf down my peanut butter sandwich and vanish out the door. My friends wouldn't see me for the entirety of the week, unless they came with me.
The book fair always made the library, both at the elementary and middle school, seem so much brighter. It even brought a different smell with it. You know what smells even better than old books? Fresh, new, for sale books. I would pick up just about every picture book or novel that had nice cover art and whiz through their plot summaries. Once in middle school, rather than buying a graphic novel, I just tucked myself underneath a table and read it piece by piece during the week of the fair. Even if I didn't buy that book, though, I'm sure that I wound up toting home something else.
I miss the part of myself that could sit down and devour books in a day or two, or that could practically hold a book in each hand and still be able to perfectly absorb each of their stories. Being a Creative Writing major, I'm still a pretty fast reader. But, nowadays, I find that if I sit down with a book, I don't stay with it for long. There's always something buzzing in the back of my head, telling me to do this or that, to pay attention to something or someone else. This summer I was proud of myself for reading five books--the summer of eighth grade I breezed through more than twenty.
I think the key is that I need to find a quiet place. I don't necessarily mean physical quietness; I actually enjoy being in a lightly busy public space when I work, like the Kennedy Center at Hiram or at a Starbucks. What I need is a place where my brain can shut up. The apartment sometimes won't cut it, because when I come to a standstill there all I can think of is how I should be doing chores or other projects. I need a place where I won't be criticized or interrupted from what I'm doing.
I need a place like the book fair. Somewhere cozy to curl up amongst other readers and where I can smell the delicious stories all around me. I hope I find it someday.