Once Upon a Time: The Joy of a New Book

    I guess it started back in elementary school. We had Scholastic Book Fairs. Anyone remember those? Basically, Scholastic Booksellers would come set up a gigantic book display labyrinth in the library for a week, and our class could go browse the books and buy them (if we begged our parents to send us to school with a $20 bill). Or, in my case, my mom would meet me at school during my lunch and buy books for my siblings and me.


    It was like Christmas. I couldn’t sleep the night before if I knew the book fair was coming the next day.

    It was at the book fair that I came across a not-yet-well-known book called Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I was in 4th grade. I stacked it into my mom’s armload, and the rest is history.

    One thing I love more than anything is a new book. Don’t get me wrong, I love libraries. Free books are great, but waiting for a book to get off the hold list is torture, and there is no feeling like writing my name on the inside cover of a book to claim it. I love the shiny new covers with bright illustrations, and I love tracing the raised lettering of the author’s name with my fingers. Even if I buy it at a used bookstore, it’s a new book to me.

    Most of all, I love the smell. Some people like the way a new car smells. Forget cars. I love the way a new book smells. Fresh ink, crisp pages, sturdy cardboard.

    I love the way that new books “crack” when I open them.

    Most of all, I love the idea of embarking on a new journey, meeting new people, and getting lost somewhere I’ve never been before.

    I’m not much of a risk-taker in real life. With a new book, I can have the illusion of adventure. I can open my new book and start fresh. “Once upon a time.” The words are like a reset button to me. I’m suddenly in a new place, and all the worries of yesterday are gone.

    If you’re a bookworm like me, you understand this. You get butterflies in your stomach when you wake up and see your new book on your nightstand. There’s so much to devour and so much to learn.

    Sometimes I’ll have friends tell me about all the books that they’ve bought recently, and then they’ll add, “…but I haven’t read them yet. They’ve been sitting on the shelves for months.” I don’t understand that. I couldn’t shelve a new book that I went out of my way to buy. I think that’s like life; a new book is something we should get to now. It shouldn’t collect dust for months while we say that we’ll “get to it later.” There’s way too much excitement hidden in those unopened pages. Whether it seems overwhelming or exciting, places like book fairs remind us that there are always new books waiting for us. I wouldn’t want it any other way.


    Ashley Dunston graduated from Vanguard University with a degree in English. She spent the past year making coffee drinks in Newport Beach, but she has recently moved to Colorado and hopes to pursue an MFA in creative writing. She enjoys Russian literature, NPR, shopping at thrift stores, and watching Lifetime movies. Surprisingly enough, she is actually not single and does not own any cats.  Email: ashley@germmagazine.com.


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