On my recent trip to Kentucky, my father and I stopped in at his sister’s bookstore in Frankfort. My aunt Elizabeth and her children were the exotic part of the family in my mind as I grew up: they lived far away, in a world filled with books and blue grass and wide open spaces. I hardly knew them.
It’s only been in recent years that the cousins on my father’s side have begun to seek each other out and form bonds of friendship. It’s as if we picked up old books that were there, waiting to be discovered, and found a world within them.
I could get lost in my aunt’s bookstore, and I very nearly did. The bottom level is like many other book shops, filled with new titles laid out to catch your eye. But upstairs are where the real gems lie waiting for owners.
Books long forgotten line the shelves. They hide in shadows. Sometimes only a cover peeks out from beneath another book. You catch a flash of bright blue or a shimmer of gold. These books tell stories beyond the ones written in them: old owners names can be found on the first page, inscriptions are written on the inside front cover, notes have been jotted here and there in margins. You can feel the ghosts circle around you, whispering ever so softly as you move from one volume to the next.
I think we both need to find a bookstore to get lost in this week…