Thursday, June 12, 2008
Happy Birthday Readerville!
I've always been a bookish sort, as anyone who's known me since childhood will attest. Once, as I was returning a massive stack of library books to the public library, the librarian informed me that I would only be allowed to take out 10 books at a time, since I couldn't possibly read any more in one week. Once I started telling her the plots of all of the books in the pile, she relented. My first paying job was as a page in the children's room of the same library--my salary can't have been much, but I was allowed to take as many books as I wanted just by signing my name, and I could keep them as long as I wanted. Bliss. (My desire for library books did not cease as I got older. For a time when I lived in Delhi, I belonged to five libraries all at once--the American Library, the British Council Library, the American Embassy Library, the Nehru Library and the Sahitya Akademi library.)
But this isn't a post about my love for public libraries, though I remain a stalwart supporter. In my adult reading life, one of my best discoveries was Readerville . I looked at the site occasionally in its first few years but didn't become a regular til I came back from India in the spring of 2002. At Readerville, I found a community of book lovers, and over time, my To Be Read lists grew and grew, as did the stacks of books in my house. As time went on, I also found myself turning to Readerville for recipes, garden recommendations, knitting patterns, online friends and real ones, and the occasional spectacular dust-up over something that maybe didn't seem like such a big deal at the time, but once 57 people felt compelled to comment, it became one.
The short-lived print version of The Readerville Journal gave me my first published articles and the opportunity to write my first real essay as well as to correspond with one of my favorite writers, Barbara Trapido. (The Journal has been reborn in online form in recent months, which is nice to see.)
I have friends whose participation in Readerville was literally life-changing (you know who you are). For me, it's been more life affirming. It's been lovely to be able to interact daily with so many kind, often funny, always bookish souls, and I've loved how formerly invisible friends have become real ones.
And while my shelves might have looked like this without Readerville, they would not have been filled so quickly or so happily.
So, Happy 8th Birthday, Readerville, and many happy returns. Thanks, Karen.