It’s the Holiday Season, and for many Marylanders it is a time filled with trips, treks, and layovers. And for many dealing with the rigors of yuletide traveling, the ideal companion is quiet, a source of information and/or entertainment, and small enough to stow in a bag. I am, of course, referring to the noble book, in all of its variable formats.
Although there is a certain risk in taking a genuine library book travelling with oneself, I dare say that it is a safe bet that these books are leading adventurous lives outside of the confines of the library’s walls. Do I know this for certain? Of course not But I may infer the travels of a book by the artifacts left inside them by their borrowers.
Take, for instance, books that have sand caught in their pages, or between the clear protective cover and the dust jacket—such evidence points to a jaunt to the beach. (As long as books can take the rigors of beach-going better than digital gadgets, it’s safe to say they will remain a reliable beach partner.) Then again, I have found countless ticket stubs—from trans-Atlantic airline stubs, to Greyhound bus tickets—lodged in many-a-returned library book, hinting at a life of globe-trotting beyond the library; enough to fill this librarian with wanderlust, and to wonder: to what majestic lands are these library books travelling?
I will admit that the ability to borrow ebooks from the library is convenient because it cuts down the risk of loss or damage that may occur to a physical library book, and also, there are no late fees that can accrue, for the book is automatically returned through the magic of technology. However, I enjoy the migratory stories hinted at by the accidental remnants left in physical library books, and will always enjoy uncovering such artifacts. In a poetic sense, the library books not only reflect the world, but also migrate through it via our patrons’ journeys, only to return again.
Almost as important as having a book to travel with is having the right book to travel with; the following are some of my favorite travel-themed novels that served as great touring companions:
What about you? What have been some of your fondest traveling companion books, or what are you taking with you this Holiday Season?