The Autobiography of a Book

Posted on September 4, 2017


In recent times, I have been on a pre-loved books buying spree. It is always so interesting to read what a reader may have highlighted or the notes of love and endearment written as a gift, reward or another momentous event. I am perhaps trying to recreate a simpler time.

In another life I was a voracious reader. Everything in my life was structured around books and reading. The way into my heart was to buy me a book, My wishlist was filled with books I wanted to read and little else.

In that same life, I had a best friend. Her name is Judy. She was like a sister to me. Judy’s sister, Keren, was like a sister to me. Being with Judy, the love of books went to another level. We constantly bought, borrowed and exchanged books. We gifted each other books for every occasion.

I look back upon this time in my life as a simple time. Even though it was the hardest time a child/teen can ever have. I was a teen caregiver to my mother who lived with Young Onset Alzheimer’s. Judy’s family and books were what helped me escape my very traumatic reality. Our vacations were spent lying around reading everything we could lay our hands on. In 2003, I left home to pursue my Master’s degree. Sadly, Judy and I lost touch as time passed. But Keren and I went to the same school for our Master’s and we still catch up when I go back home every year.

Over the years, my book collection has dwindled. Borrowed ones not returned. Some were given away as I have moved more than a handful times since I left home all those years ago. I began buying e-books because parting with my paperbacks was heartbreaking. Needless to say, I haven’t had a book shelf in several years.

A few days ago, I was getting off a red eye. I saw a Whatsapp message from Keren. I clicked on it sleepily only to get a real surprise. One of my juniors in school and college, Kavita, had posted to her Facebook page about procuring a book in an exchange in a city several hundred miles from the city where we all grew up. Lo and behold! It was my James Joyce gifted to me by Judy and Keren way back in 2002!

I don’t use Facebook, so I missed the story, but Keren was tagged and she shared the news with me. Below is Kavita’s Facebook post.

James Joyce 1James Joyce 2

This was such an unexpected and wonderful surprise. Not only was I reminded of a sweet and memorable time, but it also made me wonder about the life of a book. What are the chances that this book would travel all this distance – to a place I have never been – and reach someone we have known, and someone who appreciates the value of this memory! I can’t thank Kavita enough for sharing this with the world, and with me. I will definitely be taking my James Joyce back, hopefully this time with an added note from it’s current book mama!

With purpose I head to the pre-loved books store, eagerly looking to see if I can reunite a once-loved book with it’s first reader.


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