More than two decades ago I remember stepping out onto my fronts steps and pulling an old wooden door shut behind me. Hopping down the steps of our little Philadelphia row-home, I made my way over to G Street.
I passed Sue’s corner store, crossed over Allegheny Avenue, and walked down to Kensington Avenue. Back then the area was bustling with stores. Record Spot sat very close to that intersection and was where I bought my very first Cassette Tape. I would take a right, passing Hoffman’s Flower Shop, and make my way towards F Street.
Suddenly, the crowded commercial section opened up to a lush green island of sorts. In the middle of the open area of grass and trees sat an old stone building. McPheason Square Library. As a kid, the library was massive and very intimidating.
Despite the tall ceiling and stone columns, the interior of the building was warm and welcoming. There were always kids in the children’s section – fingering through the expanse of books and scuffing their shoes across the carpet as they ran from one shelf to the next.
My family didn’t have a lot of money growing up and visiting the library was one of the free things that we could do to occupy our time. While I haven’t been there in many, many years it seems as though the library is still open and serving the community today.
Oddly enough, this blog post didn’t start out as a little story about my childhood trips to the library. I intended to tell you about the books I have been reading lately and I thought it would be cool to include a photo of the library I visited as a child.
Searching Google for a photo turned up an article from the Granpresblog about a church group’s trip to the library. While I’m not much of a spiritual person, I thought it was interesting to read about their experience volunteering in a drug saturated part of the city. It brought a smile to my face seeing that the inside of the library looks just as it did when I was a child.
The McPheason Square Library was one of the reasons I came to enjoy reading so much. The books there allowed me to get away from things and experience an imaginary world. I’ve always been partial to Science Fiction and Fantasy. I can remember reading a Young Adult version of Bram Stroker’s Dracula as well as King Author and the Knights of the Round Table – over and over again.
These days I stick primarily to the Fantasy Genre. I find that it allows me to escape the stress of everyday life and drop myself into a different world.
Instead of seeking out new stories, I’ve been doing a lot of re-reading over the past couple of months. It all started when I was killing time during a lunch break and found a forum discussion on Patrick Rothfuss’ King Killer Chronicles. Having read it the first two books once, and listening to the audiobooks, I found the discussion fascinating and opted to go back into the story for a third time.
Finishing a good story always leaves me feeling mildly depressed, much like saying goodbye to a dear friend. Rather than dwell on it, I immediately jumped into another series that I’ve enjoyed in the past – Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archives.
I’m in the process of reading the second book now – Words of Radiance and am eager for the third book to be released. As of this morning Sanderson’s progress ticker has been updated to 50% complete. I very much look forward to reading it when it is released.
Once I finish this book, I think I may go back and re-read the First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie. I really like his writing style and have been tremendously impressed with his other works. His style isn’t for everyone with the bleak storyline and rough language but few authors have made me love and hate characters as much as Abercrombie.