It’s painful to weed a book collection. As one librarian said, “It does feel good to remove books that haven’t been read for over 10 years or maybe never, but if I think a book is worthy I put it on display hoping some child will save it by checking it out.” The heartbreak of the librarian! Even if their careworn pages suggest having at one time been cherished, the date stamp dictates whether a book remains on ever-shrinking shelf space. When I visited my own bookshelf, a favorite title jumped out — one that examines the book-reader influences.

What is it like to save a book, or be saved by a book? It is like going through an airlock. Francis Spufford describes it like this in “The Child that Books Built.” “As my concentration on the story in my hands took hold, all sounds faded away....Deep in the mysterious ductwork an adjustment had taken place with the least possible actual movement, an adjustment chiefly of pressure. There was an airlock in there. It sealed to the outside so that it could open to the inside.” A good book takes us inside — a story, a character, and ourselves.

Todd R. Nelson, an English major, lives in Penobscot with more than enough books. He’ll be reading from his recent book, "Cold Spell," at the Blue Hill Public Library on March 2 at 7 p.m.

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