Thursday, August 2, 2012

Thursday, August 02, 2012 - 3 comments

Confessions of an Expat Bookworm

When I was in Grade 1, I lied to my teacher.  
My best friend, Elizabeth, and I had snuck into a cupboard we weren’t supposed to open and played with the Special Beads that were only to be taken out when the teacher said so.  Lying about it doubled the crime, and as such, my mom took extra care in designing a consequence that I’d really feel.  My mom knew her daughter well - none of this “no playing outside after school” stuff.  She hit me where it hurt:  no library books for two weeks.  I was devastated.  And as a result, I’ve been about as honest as Abe Lincoln ever since.
I never did follow my childhood fantasy of becoming a librarian (too much life out there to live to stay inside and read about it) but I still have a serious weak spot for libraries.  And bookstores.  
Living in Turkey, I suffer from a painful shortage of both.  I’ve heard there is a library downtown, but so far, even though my Turkish is good, plopping down and reading a book in my second language is still much closer to homework than it is to unwinding.  Anything that requires me to have a dictionary at my side doesn’t count as “down time.”  We do have bookstores in a couple of the malls in town, and they even have fairly decent English sections, but they’re sorely lacking in the “grab a stack of books and flip while you sip at the adjacent coffee shop” aspect.  (Gone are the good ol’ Joe Muggs at Books-a-Million days.)  
So, when I come home, one of the first things I do, as soon as I’m awake enough to get behind the wheel of the car, is to make a beeline for the library.  Or Chapters.  Or, in today’s case, both.
I like to think of a trip to the library as a stroll down the candy aisle in the bulk buy section.  (Minus the price per 100g and the twist ties, of course.)  I can pick and choose as much or as little as I like on any given topic.  There are books to to motivate, to teach and to entertain.  Comfy old favourites, new discoveries and books I took out last year and never quite got to are all right there on the shelf, calling my name and inviting my perusal.
Travel writing anthologies to get my creative juices going for my own writing?  Sure, I’ll take a few of those.  Coupla cookbooks so I can go nuts making things with all the fun ingredients we have here that I can’t get in Turkey?  Add ‘em to the stack.  And I might as well grab a few books on running as I start to prepare for the 8k I want to run in Istanbul in November.  Oh, and they have one about marketing and selling your own creative products - I definitely need help with that.  The one I was halfway through before I came home for the summer and didn’t want to pack in my suitcase cuz it was too heavy?  Yup, they’ve got that one.  A guidebook to the Okanagan for our roadtrip - that’s a good idea.  And a book on Canadian culture so I can remember why I love being from where I’m from - that’ll be fun.  Oh, and I’ll definitely need a couple of novels for bedtime and Skytrain reading.....
I know I won’t even finish a tenth of what I took out, but that doesn’t matter.  The point is that, whenever I want to flip through, look up, or be engrossed in, they’re all in a pile right there in the living room - a stack of summer friends.  (Eighteen of them, in fact!)  And the best part?  They’re free!
Of course, my bookshelf in Turkey would be disappointed if I didn’t bring home just a couple of souvenirs, so I did grab a couple at Chapters, too.....  


From one Expat Bookworm to another, this made me smile! :)

Tell me about it! Finally I broke down and bought a Kindle. Not the same as a real, paper book. :(
But when you have the urge to carry around several books in your bag, It is nice to be able to chuck 70 or 80 or your favorites into a space the size of a single trade-back novel....Kinda worth it.

For me a holiday includes a lot of time for booksforty and a few old friends as well.....