Books, Magic, a Lap and a Grammy on the Floor

“In a good bookroom you feel in some mysterious way that you are absorbing the wisdom contained in all the books through your skin, without even opening them.”
~~ Mark Twain ~~

I just love haunting used bookstores. There’s an energy there that invigorates me and heals my soul. I wander into the store, inhaling the special scent that is in all bookstores, anticipating the search for a new treasure, hidden there somewhere in all of those shelves, just beckoning me to it. I delight in feeling the books, running my fingers along the spines as I scan the titles, believing I can feel which one is the book to take out and peruse. Once I find one, I often sit on the floor if there is no chair around and read parts of books. That’s when magic happens. My surroundings completely disappear and I become lost in a world of my own, living only in that moment, in the book. Whether it is fantasy, a great novel, great poetry, a humorous mystery or comparative religion, I find myself drawn into the glory of the words.

Tonight, I was immersed in a book about Native American herbs and healing techniques. I thought about buying it but, oddly perhaps, felt that it needed to be there for someone else to find. As I was sitting in that section, cross-legged on the floor, a man and his young son, about five, came by. The son stopped, looked at me and as I felt him looking at me, I raised my head and smiled at him. He looked at me, just above my eye level. From the puzzled look on his face, he was surely wondering why a woman my age was sitting cross-legged on the floor of a bookstore and with the candid simplicity of childhood asked, “Why are you on the floor?”

I replied, “I’m sitting on the floor because I am reading this book and my legs are tired. What do you do when you read books?”

He looked up for a moment, then told me “I sit on my Daddy’s lap, but if he’s not there, I use a chair!!!” (“Silly woman” was in his voice, but he politely omitted that.)

I smiled and said, “But there isn’t a chair here. But the floor is.”

He looked perturbed and told me, “You’re a grandma. I can tell. I will go find you a chair.” My heart was touched by his generosity and courtesy. I looked up at his dad, who was patiently waiting and smiling during this exchange and asked if I could hug the little guy. He didn’t have to answer, because that little boy gave ME a long, tight and heart-felt hug. I thanked him for that sweet hug and the offer to find me a chair and told him I liked sitting on the floor. He said, “OK, if you say so. But you should find a lap.”

Out of the mouths of babes. Do you think bookstores should provide laps for reading? Perhaps not (darn), but parents should continue to share books and laps with their children. It inspires them to keep reading, learning and to explore the world.

Books open the universe to us. They expand our minds. They educate. They allow us to use our imaginations to find our place in the world and new ways of looking at others.

I look forward to my next adventure in a used bookstore. I sat on no laps, but I had a wonderful hug from a thoughtful young man who knows the value of a lap. And books. He now knows that even a Grammy can sit on the floor with a book. And lose herself in a world of words.

About Mary Sue

I'm a: natural healer, grandmother of almost seven, lover of life, lover of travel, hopeful romantic, writer, blogger, reader of everything worthwhile (and some that's not), lover of people, friends and family (not necessarily in that order), lover of education, and so much more.
  • Dave Hobley

    Beautiful experience to share MarySue Marshall!!! Thank you for your inspiration!

    Dave Hobley
    Founder & CEO, Our World Enterprises, Get “Like”d Community and Ask A Doctor Live

  • Andy McKell

    The experience came alive in your telling!

  • Leslie

    Beautiful as always. Your writing always makes me think of Norman Rockwell painting. :)

  • Joel Nielson

    Great story Mary Sue. And agreed, it was well told.

    It’s been a while. I hope all is well!

    Here is one of my favorite moments captured in a written story:

    • Mary Sue

      Wonderful, Joel! Thank you–and your story of the philanthropist has put a new spin on the way I think.

  • Gwen Selix

    That is just so cute and sweet Sue. I love that. Book stores really do hold magic, I always feel so at home in them. I love walking around and just running my fingers over the spines of the books wondering what adventures the hold for me.

    Books just call to me and I think that is why I love spending time in book stores. Someday I will have a huge library in my house then the books will always be around me.

    • Mary Sue

      Gwen, thank you! Nice to meet another person who understands book magic.

  • http://www, Ceola

    Delightful, Mary Sue! Hugs are wonderful at any time, but in a used bookstore and from such a perfect gentleman? What a joy! Magic is also welcome at any time–and anywhere

    • Mary Sue

      Thank you!

  • Hilary

    Hello there, just became aware of your blog through Google, and found that it’s truly informative. I’ll be grateful if you continue this in future. A lot of people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  • Lois W. Stern

    I dedicate part of my writing to inspiring stories so I write and read a lot of them, Mary Sue. And this one hared the pants off of me! Thanks so much for an uplifting story.

    • Mary Sue

      Thank you! It was a joyful experience and needed to be shared.

  • Linda Loegel

    I just discovered your blog post and found this particular story to be just as warm and cozy as an old bookstore. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Your story took me back to the time I visited London and tried to visit 21 Charing Cross Road, but, alas, it is no longer a bookstore. I did, however, find a used bookstore on that street and once inside, I was told there were more books in the basement. I slowly made my way down a dimly-lit spiral staircase that took me to the bowels of the store and to Heaven. Before me were shelves upon musty shelves of books calling to me. I ended up buying a few books, for myself and family members. Thank you for your lovely post and the memory it evoked.

    • Mary Sue

      What a wonderful experience, Linda! There’s nothing like book-hunting!

  • Sean

    Great experience! Bookstores are magic! Especially used bookstores.

    Caution – be careful if you ever find a large, old book with two snakes twisted and consuming the other’s tail on the cover. If you start reading it, your life will never be the same!

    • Mary Sue

      My life is never the same after reading a book!!! But should I find one, a very large, old book, with two snakes twisted and consuming the other’s tail on the cover, I will leap into it with great abandon in search of a new adventure!

  • Louis Foussard

    Love it… Thanks for sharing.

    Aren’t kids wonderful?

    ~ Louie

    • Mary Sue

      They’re the best, the heart and future of the world.

  • david

    Wonderful story and wonderfully told.