My Love Affair with Books
by Dianne Neal Matthews
“The familiar faces of my books welcomed me. All my old friends present—there in spirit, ready to talk with me any moment when I was in the mood, making no claim upon my attention when I was not.” (George MacDonald)
Although born in 1824, George MacDonald was a man after my own heart. Like him, I think of my books as friends. And I love the feeling of being surrounded by those familiar “faces” when I come home, especially since I haven’t lived near any family members in a decade.
In my family room, I see the bookcase that holds my oldest, tried-and-true friends—ones I met through classic literature. Charles Dickens takes up an entire shelf. George Eliot and Thomas Hardy have their own sections, as does J.R.R. Tolkien and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Jane Austen rubs shoulders with the Bronte sisters and Mark Twain. Dostoevsky and Emily Dickinson may seem like an odd couple, but they don’t mind sharing space.
Across the room, another bookcase shelters other treasured friends. On top, the coffee table/photography books tower over all the others. I visit them when I want to be inspired by the wonders of nature or outer space, or fantasize about visiting Ireland. Beneath them, Christian classics stand ready to inspire and lift my spirits. C.S. Lewis, Max Lucado, and Billy Graham mingle with older believers like John Bunyan, Hannah Whitall Smith, and a monk called Brother Lawrence.
Stepping into my office, I find my hardest-working friends. This bookcase holds reference books: dictionaries, encyclopedias, a thesaurus, and Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance. Books on grammar, writing, and marketing offer advice when needed. Below them are Bible studies I’ve completed, along with books on prayer, the Scriptures, and many facets of the Christian life. At the bottom, the hobby and craft books, wait patiently for me to find some free time to spare for them.
When it comes to books, I have friends in high places—or rather, on high shelves, and also on low shelves. A few are spineless but I still love them. This lifelong love affair has been rekindled each time my husband and I have relocated. Once I arrange the books on their shelves, I start to feel more at home.
Why not visit a bookstore and pick up a new lifelong friend? Who knows, there just might be a kindred spirit waiting inside. And remember, books are the only friends you can pack up in boxes and take with you when you move.
Dianne Neal Matthews is the author of five daily devotional books including The One Year Women of the Bible and Designed for Devotion: A 365-Day Journey from Genesis to Revelation, winner of a 2013 Selah Award. She also writes for websites, blogs, and compilations (including Guideposts’ Mornings with Jesus). Visit www.DianneNealMatthews.com or connect through Facebook or Twitter.