So You Want to Be a Wizard by Diane Duane was one of my favourite books as a kid. I think I was about seven when I read it. The bookmobile had just gotten a copy of it and I remember my name was the first one on the book slip – I always loved it when that happened. I absolutely devoured it, and then couldn’t wait for the end of the week when the bookmobile would again be parked next to Dr. Seager Wheeler Park so I could tell the librarian about it – to ensure she stocked the next book when it came out.
A few years ago now, I saw an old copy (though not so old as the one I would have first read) on the “for sale” rack at our little neighbourhood library. It was old enough that it still had the kraft paper envelope glued onto the first page – where the book slip would have slid in so perfectly. I grabbed it pretty darn quickly, and when the girl was done checking out her books I gratefully handed over the quarter (or two, I can’t recall exactly how much it was) that the paperbacks withdrawn from the library collection sell for. When we got home, I stashed it away on a shelf, knowing some day my girl might just love it as much as I did… and excited that it would be here waiting for her.
Tonight we started reading the brittle, crinkly pages, each one crackling and popping as they were turned. There is just something special about older books. Something magical in the way they sound, feel, and smell. Even leafing through them is a journey… and I’ll admit to a palpable tingle in the air as I listened to the pages turn taking us to the prologue and our epic adventure.
As my husband read aloud, I was taken back to the very first time I read So You Want to Be a Wizard. And I was quickly reminded why I loved it so much, even then. I was never one for flaky books with characters as thin as the paper their lives were printed on. Even as a kid, I liked my words meaty, purposeful, and true. Listening to Nita’s experience going back into the children’s section of her little library, I relived those first moments of discovery, when I knew what it was to stumble – with her – onto the amazing book and looking forward to where it would take her. …yep, I’m going to enjoy doing this again. 😉