A Good Book Has No Ending

Today was a good day; today my copy of Maggie Myklebust’s “Fly Away Home Book” arrived! Some of you who follow Maggie’s Fly Away Home blog (and I recommend that you do) will know that she was kind enough to enter everyone in a book giveaway and what do you know – I won! So today I am carrying the book around like it’s the Holy Grail, reverently rubbing the cover and showing it to every visitor to the shop! I have a waiting list already for those wanting to borrow it from my Turkish book club and I haven’t even been able to open a page yet because of my visitors.

Nothing pleases me more than having an unread book tucked away in my bag awaiting my attention. I feel that there is something essential missing, if I am not in the process of reading a book. Kindles are lightweight and practical but do not have the smell and feel of well-thumbed pages. Even now, a blissful day for me can be a mug of hot chocolate, curled up on the sofa with a good book immersed in some wonderful other world. Ever since I was a small child I have loved books and sometimes when I would come home from school, I would tear up to my room and occasionally on my bed there would be a much-longed for copy of some paperback that I had continually pestered my mum for. And then it would be like Xmas Day all over again and I would have to be reluctantly dragged away from Moby Dick or Oliver to the dinner table.

I remember when my Dad took me to the local library for the first time; it was like I had been given the keys to the magic kingdom. I must have felt like Charlie did when he won Willy Wonka’s Golden Ticket. The local library was situated in a wing of an old neglected Georgian mansion-house in a public park with a tree-lined drive leading up to it. In the springtime I failed to appreciate the abundant cherry blossom that showered you with confetti petals when the gentle breeze blew and later on the blazing display of colour from the rhododendrons. The house at some time would have been incredibly majestic but as a child, I was so preoccupied with the anticipation of my book selection that I failed to notice its charms. The thing I do remember is the strong smell of disinfectant that permeated the entire building as I ran up the sweeping staircase contemplating an afternoon with Huckleberry Finn or Peter Pan.

I still have my old library tickets somewhere, handwritten by the rather austere librarian; in the simpler days before the computer age. The library wing constituted of just two rooms on the first floor with a whole room dedicated to children’s books. I remember hesitating when after completing my registration, the librarian, having established that I wasn’t a potential gangland criminal, gave me permission to go and select my books. I was completely awed by the wall to wall selection of children’s books and was overcome with wonder.

Sadly, the library is no longer situated in this grand majestic venue and has moved to a new build which has none of the old captivating charm. Whilst I still enjoy a visit to our new high-tech library, it lacks the fairy-tale like qualities of the library of my childhood and seems far too ordinary to be the backdrop for the likes of Huck, Fagin and Peter.

“So come with me, where dreams are born, and time is never planned. Just think of happy things, and your heart will fly on wings, forever, in Never Never Land.” – J. M. Barrie, Peter Pan

94 thoughts on “A Good Book Has No Ending

  1. Love. My problem is that I have so many books that I have purchased and haven’t yet read due to the demands of “life” – so many good words to read and not enough time!

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  2. Oh, I love books too! I am warming up to a Kindle though as buying English books in Mexico is pretty difficult and the mail unreliable. Don’t you love this new tech age 🙂

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    • Glad to hear you’re feeling better. Ear infections are nasty and can affect your balance too. I have a kindle and getting hold of books written in English here in Turkey (much the same as Mexico I should imagine) is difficult so they are a necessity but given the choice an old book would be my preference every day.

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  3. You are awesome! Thanks for the shout out Dallas 🙂
    And I couldn’t agree with you more… real books, libraries and bookshops are the best!
    And the feeling I get right before I start reading a new book, is all the high I need 🙂

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  4. I don’t feel quite balanced if I don’t have books available to read. I didn’t think I’d like reading on a Kindle, but I bought one for when I go to Mexico and now I love it. I download samples and thus have a library at my finger tips.

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  5. What a wonderful blog entry. You took me back to being a child and the anticipation of what I would find in the shelves. I saw your old library in your words. I remember being so afraid that when I grew up that there would not be any books I would love anymore as all the wonderful artwork and imagination seemed to be the sole domain of children. Fortunately I’ve always been able to find something that would spark that excitement and would keep me reading long after it should have been lights out.
    Right now I’m reading “In Turkey I’m Beautiful” by Brendan Shanahan. He’s an Australian journalist who travels across Turkey and ends up looking after a rug shop in Istanbul. The fun part is I know some of the people in the book so it makes to doubly wonderful.
    Enjoy your reading adventure and thanks again for your blog that helps fill the homesickness I feel for Turkey, my second home.
    Sincerely, Deb

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    • Merhaba! Loved what you said and I will be sure to check out Brendan’s book; I already love the title. Hope you come back because Turkey seldom lets go of your heart. Iyi geceler, my blogging friend; I hope we “talk” again!

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  6. I know what you mean about a real book versus a Kindle! I got a Kindle while I was in Spain because I was tired of paying exorbitant prices for books at English bookstores in Madrid. Now that I’m back in the States, I still buy books on my Kindle but I’m thinking about rereading The Hunger Game series (which was on Kindle but I lost them when I unregistered my dad and registered my account). Luckily my mom bought the first book and is reading the second so we now have the paperbacks! If you want a good book to read, I suggest the bestseller Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. It’s a thriller and that book seriously messed with my mind… very far-fetched but still a really good read!

    And I know what you mean about the library. The library in my town looks like a house and inside it also feels very homey. It sits on the “Village Green” between the Square House (this old tavern like building that is now a museum) and our City Hall.

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  7. This is so lovely. Since I got my iPhone I’ve been very naughty with reading – mostly just turning to the internet to amuse me if I’ve got spare time. This is a good reminder that a book is far more magical than a reddit post!

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  8. I grew up in a city with a first class library system (Boston). Over time I’ve lived in places where the libraries didn’t come up to snuff. It was so hard to survive without a decent library. These days, I’m back in a community that values and cherishes their libraries. There are about ten branches throughout the county and I can use any one of them, order up books to be delivered to my branch… it’s just sheer heaven! Haven’t yet worked up the enthusiasm to try a Kindle. Still like carrying a book around for those moments that a book is absolutely essential.

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  9. When I die, if I have any money left I’m leaving it to the library where I’ve found hundreds of hours of escapist happiness and where, when I have a query for one of my writing assignments, the helpful librarians always look up an answer for me.

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    • A while back I read a wonderful mystery book set in Istanbul in the 1800s. The action shuttled back and forth between Dolmabahce and Topkapi palaces, and the ending took place in the Basilica Cistern. I can’t for the life of me remember the title or author. Have you read anything like this?

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  10. What a great post! I used to love going to the library when I was growing up! Also, when I worked in the San Francisco Bay Area I worked two blocks from the library. A friend and I enjoyed the dame types of books. We would go there every three weeks. We could check out ten books each. We’d read them on the train, then we’d swap them. If we needed more time we’d renew them on-line! Even though I haven’t been there in a number of years, I do miss that library! Electronic books are fine, but as you’ve said, there’s something about holding a book, putting it down for a split second when the words strike your imagination, then re-reading the page. Thanks so much for sharing!

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  11. Lovely post! For a moment I thought you were describing my childhood library, but that had no avenue of trees. My feelings were the same though as I made the difficult decisions of which books to choose this week and which to save for next – then agonising on my way back the following Saturday in case the book I was looking forward to reading had already been checked out by someone else!
    I agree with all the comments about ‘real books’ although I’m contemplating getting an ereader as good English books are hard to come by in India. Having said that, we have a few shelves of books for guests to read, and they can exchange a book they have finished for one of ours so there is often something new for me to read – it’s exciting to see what they leave behind!
    Talking of new books (hope you don’t mind a bit of advertising here, apologies if you this crosses the line and please do delete it!) but I became a published author this weekend! My book, Heronfield, is available as an ebook and print version should be out by the end of the week. (Second World War, historical/romance if anyone is interested in getting the first 15% as a free download http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/240504 ). My feelings at being published are similar to my childhood feelings in the library – excitement, nervousness with an additional handful of “I can’t believe I’m really a published author” thrown in!
    What I want to know is, when will your blog be published as a book and is anyone interested in the film rights? It would be a bestseller/blockbuster!

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    • Not at all – if I’d had a book published I would be shouting it from the rooftops – very well done you! It makes me feel incredibly important having another published author as a blogging friend – I’ll have lots to discuss at my next Turkish Book Club! I wouldn’t know where to start myself but I’d sure like to see my adventures on the big screen and as I’ve said before someone pretty glamorous best play me! I’m off to check out your book now! Take care and don’t forget to let us know all about your book ie when’s the book tour etc – Dallas

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  12. It’s lovely to hear another reader express the same thoughts you have. Since learning to read I have never been without a book by my side. Traveling so much though, I have come to love both my kindle and audible.com. Thanks for expressing it so well.

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  13. Terrific post and congrats on winning a book. I totally agree about libraries and childhood memories. I am a “library junkie” My very first boyfriend was the the assistant librarian. He was 17 I was 15 (sounds like I am going to burst into song…) It was a very long time ago, but I think we all can remember our first romance. Your post about the library in the old house brought that memory back for me

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  14. I am with you on books, my house is filled with them shelves in nooks and crannies. One of these days I will dedicate a room as a library and build floor to ceiling shelves with wonderful rolling ladders and grand reading chairs with perfectly situated lights. Yeah, one of these days.

    Congrats on your win.

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  15. A lovely post, it reeled me in and soon I was curled up costly as if enjoying one of those books in that library. Your reference to Roald Dahl is apposite as your post reminded me of Matilda, when she discovers the library at an early age. Magic.

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    • I’m guessing you’re another Roald Dahl fan? There was certainly magic between the pages of the books I read as a child, not so much magic now but I think you lose some of that when you grow up. Nevertheless, I still love a good book

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  16. I love the feel of books too. It’s just not the same reading one on my iPad. I also remember the first library I joined when I was 7. It was not long after we moved interstate to a small farming community. It was after my first day at the local primary school. I headed down to the library after school & thought I was in heaven. All those books! And it’s been like that ever since. We are in danger of being overwhelmed by books in our house as I can’t bring myself to get rid of any!

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  17. I think J.K. Rowling must have been introduced to a library like yours when she was young. What an imagination! And you have a vivid imagination, Miss Dallas, too! A great dad you have to introduce you to a library like that, and to gardening. I think you should write a suspense novel that involves a library of that description, and a garden like your dads, with his garden shed, and a stranger named Ahmed! But, the world-traveling heroine is the star, of course, and solves the mystery, which involves dirt and books, and a little affair! – Kaye

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    • Loving your thinking Kaye! Great ingredients for a blockbuster; sordid venue (my dad’s shed), dirty & hot with a severe case of potting station envy and voila a Miss Marple mystery. Obviously, I would want someone really glamorous playing me though!

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  18. I was happy when I saw you had won the copy of Maggie’s book. I just started reading Fly Away Home this morning, and I’m hooked already. I downloaded the E-version to my phone so it is handy to read wherever, whenever. I also have loved books from an early age, and luckily come from a book reading family… Later in life I was amazed to find non-reading, non-book owning families existed… and to hear people exclaim at what I consider to be my very modest shelves of books… rooms would be better. One of my earliest and best memories is my grandparents taking me with them to do their grocery shop and my weekly treat of a Little Golden Book. I get book ideas from WordPress reviews and authors like Maggie, belong to a bookclub, borrow from the library, buy from second hand book shops, markets, Book Depository, etc, etc and also load e-books onto my phone… such a security blanket 😉

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    • I am beginning to have a severe case of modest home library envy as it seems that so many of my blogging friends seem to have one; and I don’t! I love that about WordPress; all the recommendations you get about books! I’ve already got my Christmas wish list!

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  19. Maggie’s book sounds really good. I have put it on my wish list. I love your story about the library. My mom used to pile all seven of us into the VW and drive us to the library. She never limited us–sometimes she had over a hundred books to keep track of, and we made many a midnight trip to return books so we wouldn’t have to pay the nickel overdue fee on them.

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    • Naomi, I laughed for England about the comment about overdue fees as my dad being a true blood Yorkshireman did the same! His car was never driven over 40 miles an hour unless we had to return overdue books!

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  20. Not familiar with this lady, Tink, but she looks good. A friend who was staying in the Algarve a few weeks before our last visit made a really nice gesture. She always travels with a heap of books and she left them for me at our estate agents when she’d read them. It was like Christmas come early!

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  21. So kind of Maggie. I love having books around as well, but the unread ones have been piling up of late. Just not able to find the time. But yes, nothing beats the comfort and smell of a well thumbed tome 🙂

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  22. When I’m browsing for a book, I first look at the size (pages). Then I look at the title. I only read books that have a minimum of 800 pages and prefer books over a thousand. I’m not showing off carrying around a ginormous book. It’s because when I get to the last 100 pages, depression sets in and it feels like the wait for a dying relative. So the large books are a delaying tactic. Loved your blog by the way and how you coped with your heart rendering relationship dissolve.

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    • I feel quite panicky too when I’m getting near the end of a book and I don’t already have another lined up waiting to read. Thank you for your nice comments – still working through a few things with the relationship break up – like can we sell the house please!

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  23. love this post, love the title, and love what you say about books. Couldn’t agree with you more, but for me, these days, the Kindle is a great blessing. I have serious problems with my eyesight and could not longer enjoy books as I used to. Now with the Kindle I can increase the font to the size I need, and still get pleasure from reading, if not directly from “books”. And a special thanks for liking my recent India Journal post. Hope you will continue to enjoy as I certainly do look forward to exploring further here on your blog!. 🙂
    Namaste from Rishikesh
    with love light and JOY

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