I Have Loved You

My Dearest Friendbooks

For years, you’ve been at my side, a steady and dependable silent partner. Ever since our first encounter, I’ve held you in my heart and until now never confessed my truest feelings. I know I am not your first but oh, how I’ve wished you belonged only to me. I’m selfish that way. I’ve often dreamed I were the only one to know this love. I knew I could not keep you for myself and that you belonged to more than silly ole me. Still I yearned. You knew that I would rather die than confess my feelings and suffer the humiliation of saying those three words. Never did you push, or demand more, and always, you respected my choices, and me. Despite my foibles, my eccentricities, and even after all the indiscretions over the years, you’ve never left my side.

You honor me, always. Only you would think of me first, whereas I have often put others ahead of you. I’ve tossed you to one side while I explored the world without you. Of course, I’d always come back to you, begging forgiveness with promises to be true and to hold you above all others. You took me back time and time again, knowing I’d falter and break my vow to be true. My wandering eyes and this heart of mine, easily wooed. In all the years we’ve known one another, you never betrayed me, not once.

Even now, when life for you is uncertain you maintain your dignity and continue to bare your love for not only me, but to anyone with the desire. From here, I watch you across the room. You’re standing tall, toy soldier rigid, with your come-hither glances ever ready to seduce. Your ability to draw me to your side never wans. Despite the time and distance we may have been apart, even when you’ve angered me with unsatisfying finales, I’d come back for more. For one more dance in your arms I’d crawl over jagged rocks, sail the seven seas, give you my sight. I’d sacrifice all for you and a story. I’d find a way. I would.

My dearest friend, I fret I will not find you so easily in the days ahead. The path to your arms becomes increasingly difficult, even shrouded in uncertainty. The climate around us changes with each passing sunrise. It pains me to confess this, but each day there are more and more readers who have opted to Kindle or Nook, instead of cracking open your spine and falling into the pages of you. Their eyes no longer roam the aisles of the physical bookstore, they open browsers, they tap-tap-tap on keyboards for the objective of their desire. They’ve forgotten the feel of your pages in their hands, the rush of running home to find the book at page 173 right were they left it the night before, but mostly they have forgotten the weigh of you on their chest. They’re a changed people, myself included. I’m a double agent, I too have Nooked.  Despite this… and everything I have put you through over the years, I remain your loyal and loving friend. You showed me the world, took me on grand adventures, held me close when my own world was uncertain, and never, not once, did you leave my side. I will always love you.

With deep gratitude,

Brenda

Sadly, Barnes and Noble, like so many other bookstores, moves forward with downsizing plans. This news nearly broke my heart. I know books will live on in e-form, but for this reader, it feels as if a part of our history is getting lost in uncertainty of the global economic rebirth. I’ve never lost my love for the physical book or bookstore. I continue to roam the aisles of new, used, big box, and the independents, as often as I can or as much as my budget will allow. Sniff. Sniff.  (Article on B&N downsizing)

In honor of the book, do you have a favorite tattered copy of something you reach for every year?

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by

I’m a writer and hoarder of one-size-fits-all panty hose. Until the hose fits over my bum, I write to provide an alternative view on writing and perfection.

47 thoughts on “I Have Loved You

  1. I took Borders closing very hard because it was the only bookstore by me. It’s so sad to see bookstores close. I love print books and always will. I have several books on my bookshelf that are littered with post it notes for me to go back to time and time again.
    Kelly Hashway recently posted….Monday Mishmash 1/28/13My Profile

  2. Heart wrenching isn’t it? Loving devotion for a worthy companion.

    Cookbooks! With well over three hundred, I can’t imagine not having several bookshelves full of them. I do enjoy my Kindle on the road and traveling but at home it’s the physical books that rule, especially for those I know I want to share—only a printed copy will do!
    We’re also very fond of craft books including those on gardening, art: Chinese brush strokes, watercolor, pastels, colored pencil, oil, drawing, comics etc. Handcrafts: quilting, crocheting, quilling, jewelry, beading, chinese knotting etc. Oh dear, I could go on, and on, and on.

    • Lynne – Tis. I can’t imagine having a house without books. They are essential in decorating. I don’t have craft books (other than writing books) but I do have three rows of cookbooks. Sometimes I pour myself a glass of wine, pull a stack off the shelf and peruse.

  3. I’m glad we lived in the age of hard-cover books, and hate using the past tense here. I’m still not quite believing this age has gone. I love collecting good books and seeing them on my shelves, even if I know I may never read all of them. Just knowing they are there, ready to grab and pick up, is enough! I think I could skate through to the end of my life on what I already have on my shelves if I had to. But I don’t want to!!!
    Deborah J. Brasket recently posted….“Rider on the Storm” – My Wild Child, My SonMy Profile

  4. This is so sad, indeed. When my kids were young I took them just about every weekend to our local B&N, where I’d let each pick out a book. We could spend hours in the bookstore, perusing the latest books. Plus my daughter would enjoy the children’s section. It breaks my heart, Brenda, to think the bookstore is becoming a thing of the past. How sad, indeed.
    monicastangledweb recently posted….It’s Official, The Holidays are OverMy Profile

  5. Dear Brenda,

    So sweet!

    Personally, I have never Kindled or Nooked — kind of an old fashioned girl, I guess 😉 Love, love, love me books! The feel. The smell. The sound of the turning pages…

    You did remind me that I’ve been meaning to write a post about books, too! Thank you! XOXOXO
    Dangerous Linda recently posted….does god really hate personal growth?My Profile

    • Linda – you’re my heroine. I hadn’t planned on nooking, but my kids gave me one for Mother’s day a few years back. Clearly, I ‘took to my nook’ like an addict to heroin, but that doesn’t mean I have lost my love for the real thing. Glad to have reminded you.

  6. I just got back from a beautiful book store – I didn’t buy anything, because I forgot to take my glasses, but the joy of being around new books got to me. I’m going off to the store again soon. I’ve come to enjoy my Kindle, but nothing smells like books! 😉
    Corinne Rodrigues recently posted….The 7x7x7x7 Writing PromptMy Profile

    • Corinne – You’re right about the bookstore, there is nothing quite like one. There are so many great ones, my favorite is in Denver, Colorado.

  7. Wonderful! I love the way you write so romantically about a corporate decision :)
    I’m a book tart. I schmooze with books at Chapters (Cdn version of Barnes and Noble, I guess), the public library, ebooks, iTunes audiobooks and sloppy seconds. Still, there’s nothing like handing a book to someone, looking them in the eye, and saying “you will love this” or “read this now” …
    Astra recently posted….Domestic Labour Unrest …My Profile

    • Astra – it’s one of loves, the book. It’s up there with reading and writing. When I think of my first visit in the mobile library, I still smile. What a life turning event it was for me.

  8. I’m not a great re-reader, but I started out 2013 rereading a firm favourite Martin Booth’s The Industry of Souls and over the years I have taken it off the shelf many times and given it away and then always repurchased it, waiting for that day when I would re-read it.

    It is sad to see bookshops in decline and often only offering “best-sellers”, I just hope that the joy of reading doesn’t decline also, it could just be that we are in a monumental shift, not just books, but the retail experience, the high street, I can’t help but think that something good is coming, it just all needs re-inventing.

    Social networks and internet shopping have caused a kind of hibernation, but I think a revolution is pending and stories and the imagination will be right at the forefront! Cities and communities will change and become much more engaging and the allure of reading must be part of it.
    Claire ‘Word by Word’ recently posted….Brain On Fire – My Month of MadnessMy Profile

    • Claire -I’ve not read Booth’s book, but I LOVE that you give it away and share it with others. I know what you mean about book stores carrying the top sellers. Even books I think they should have, I have either download or order. Makes me crazy sometimes. I’ve noticed my local Barnes has reduced its inventory. I agree with you about hibernation and the imagination. We’re in a stage of change, bother writers and readers are changing. I believe this to be a good thing. Writers are expanding and readers are more open, expansive with their reading.

  9. Ooo, what a lovely letter to your friend, Brenda!

    I read REAL books, listen to audio books, and finally bought a Kindle.

    I also LOoooooooooove Barnes & Noble. I think I’d cry if they closed or downsized.

    I want it all. You know?

    I read & listened to The Book of Ruth by Jane Hamilton several times. I also LOooove love love a book called EVENING by Susan Minot. It is like butter.

    I can’t get enough.

    Love to you, dear. xxx
    My Inner Chick recently posted….Distractions, Green Pastures, & Still WatersMy Profile

    • Kim, thanks for the recommends. I confess after reading Map of the Work, by Jane Hamilton, I never read anything else by her. I will give this one a try and get back to you. Love back, sweetie.

  10. I just loved this post so much! There’s no better companion after a long day than a nice cup of tea and a book that I my heart and intellect can feast upon, ushering my imagination to new heights. It’s so sad how there’s fewer and fewer bookstores. I, too, prefer the physical book, to be able to turn its page, underline if prompted to, write in the margins, etc.

  11. What a lovely, albeit very sad, eulogy. We too have lost a major book shop on this side of the pond. It’s very disheartening to those of us who love the feel and smell, the sheer sensuous delight, of holding a book, especially a virgin copy, in our trembling hands. Ordering online just isn’t the same!
    Edith recently posted….Welcome to my room Sally!My Profile

    • Mistress Edith – I was wondering about you the other day. Hope you and your pocket novel are coming along fine. The bookstores in London are my fondest memories of my time there.. So many and not enough time or money. Loved them. And no, ordering online lacks the appeal of the bookstore, doesn’t.

  12. J

    It will always be books and book stores for me. Kindle is there, just as an option now. Donno when it will take over. Sad.

  13. Brenda, I too love print books. I love the feel of a book in my hands. I like to bookmark pages with an actual bookmark. I love the way books smell. Reading on the computer tends to give me a headache. I find myself making the font bigger and then the page doesn’t fit and it’s so frustrating! How sad to see how every good thing comes to an end, or in this case, downsizes. I have many, many fond memories of roaming the aisles in book stores, reading at the library, and sitting for hours on end drinking coffee whilst reading. Sigh.

  14. Oh, Brenda – I love this so much. Thank you for putting into words how I feel about books – the magic of the actual book, the textured feel of the pages, the physical cover between my hands, as I curl up to read, the sheer magic of a book store or library – all of those worlds just waiting to be discovered and explored. All of those new friends just waiting to be made. Thank you and thank you for this gorgeous piece. xoxo Dawn

    • Aw, Dawn, thanks kindly for your words. I suppose the writer in us will never tire of the book. As noted, I do have an e-reader. It’s handy and I am often looking for books at obscure hours, so having it around is good. But I still hit the bookstore regularly, sometimes, just to walk through the aisles day-dreaming.

  15. Deborah Nicholson

    I know, I know. Nothing smells like a bookstore full of promises, and new worlds to discover. New friends to meet. New places to go. Elizabeth Cadell’s books set in the Canary Islands and Portugal. Elizabeth Peters’ books set in Rome and Mexico City. Madeleine in Paris. And Bill Crider’s west Texas Sheriff Dan Rhodes. And it wouldn’t be Christmas without Rest You Merry by Elizabeth Peters and Six Geese a Slaying by Donna Andrews…and now The 12 Clues of Christmas by Rhys Bowen. My all-time favorite is still Ballet Shoes by Noel Streetfield. I’m going to find a copy for a friend’s grandchild and see if it still captivates young women today.

    • Deborah -I have not read Ms. Cadell’s book, but I did try to order one online after you left your comment. Sadly, no luck, yet. They’re out of print. I will let you know if I find one. I can’t imagine anyone not loving the Ballet Shoes. Thanks for visiting.

  16. Love the twist you put on this. I regularly reread Gone With The Wind, and Robert Heinlein’s Time Enough For Love.

    And I do still love a REAL bookstore – but I have a somewhat new, guilty pleasure that gives me ALMOST the same fix. The LIBRARY. Rows and rows of books to browse, and my wallet is much happier with me when we leave together.

    They don’t sell notepads, though, or calendars, or Godiva chocolate.
    Beverly Diehl recently posted….Slut of the Month: Peggy LeeMy Profile

    • Hey Bev.. I’ve reread Gone With the Wind, last year. I love it, but it tortures me. I am not a southern, and probably look at the book differently, then Pat Conroy, but it’s one story I never tire of. True, no hot coco, or journals and unnecessary pens and colorful paper that I have no need for, can be found in the Library, but I still enjoy visiting both. Actually, I spend a lot of time writing in the library. It’s warm and cozy, and they don’t allow fat cats.

  17. I absolutely refuse to push my traditional books aside and purchase the newest electronic reader. What fun is that? I love walking into a book store and seeing those piles of books, smelling the new paper and print, feeling the pages between my fingers.

    Why oh why are our book stores leaving us? I will hold out until I no longer have options and then, and only then, will I bow down to the Kindle/Nook.
    C. Lee Reed recently posted….Helicopter Parents DefinitionMy Profile

  18. All my favourite books are in hard copies because I don’t have an e-reader yet. {Ironic since I publish in e-format.} I still buy physical books, borrow them from the library … and don’t think they’re going anywhere for the time being. There will be more e-books and less bookstores, but the last I heard, the physical books aren’t going away either. So yay! {Just bought ‘American Gods,’ ’11/22/63,’ ‘Lonesome Dove’ and plenty of JCO novels ~ all in physical books. Honoring them, and smelling every bit of goodness off them.} Have a great time reading, B.!

    • C – I have both, and buy both. I like the convenience of the e-reader, but I still LOVE shopping for the book, buying it, reading it, and slipping it into the bookcase. I love the way books look in my house. I walk through the living room and smile inside. I loved, I mean totally loved, Lonesome Dove. It came on me unexpectedly. To this day I still ache for those characters.

  19. Hi Brenda,

    I haven’t browsed a bookstore or purchased a physical book in years, it’s true. The convenience of eBooks, syncing across all of my devices is hard to resist. But I have shelves of books that I’ve accumulated over the years, and often reach for one when I’m reminded of a passage when talking with my daughters. Each passage that is special to me is easily found by the sticky note, business card, or scrap of paper that I’ve slipped between the pages.

    One physical book that I return to often is my complete works of Shakespeare. This type of material lends itself to slow — finger along the words as you read — reading.
    Ray Colon recently posted….In My Mirror I See…My Profile

    • Ray, Ray, Ray – how can you not roam the aisles of the bookstore? It’s heaven on earth.I won’t hold it against you, but I will eye you suspiciously henceforth. :-)

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