I love reading and that love is probably one of the reasons I love writing.
When I was a kid I used to go down to my grandparent's house in Natchitoches, La. and spend every summer there. My grandparents lived outside of town a few miles and once a week or so my grandmother would go into town to buy groceries or shop. She never learned to drive and so it was usually a family trip involving assorted aunts or uncles and was an eagerly awaited affair.
I wasn't much on the shopping so they would drop me off at the library where I would bury myself in the books while sitting on a comfortable chair looking through the wall of glass onto Cane River. To this day, the smell of old books is still one of my favorite things (that and the feel of the book are the only things that make me prefer physical books over my Kindle). After picking out my stack of books I would go to the P & C Rexall Drugstore and get a chocolate ice cream cone (they used a ice cream scoop that made them square) and wait to be picked up, often spending part of the time reading comic books from the stand at the store.
These experience made it into my book, Junebug and the Body, and as I read it over and over doing edits it never failed to bring back those memories. I get the same feelings when I read one of the books that were available at the library. The Henry Reed series, Beverly Cleary's books about Henry Huggins, and, as I grew older, the S.E. Hinton books are sure to trigger memories.
I wonder if the kids raised on Harry Potter will experience the same sense of nostalgia? It is probably more common nowadays for parents to buy books for their children than it is for the kids to go to the library. I can remember every summer there was a reading contest at the public library with a party at the end. The winners, which usually included me (just like Junebug), were presented ribbons.
Harry Potter was the biggest thing to hit the world of children's books EVER but I'm curious to see if that has long term effects on the industry or if children will gradually slide back into the world of video games and television with no time for the heroes of the printed word.
I hope not, because "leaders are readers" and the world is sorely lacking in independent minded imagination right now and we need a generation of people willing to "go on walkabout" and not just be lemmings.
A NOTE TO eBOOK AUTHORS:
When publishing on the Kindle I make it a point to check the box to allow lending and I'd urge you to do the same. As writers we have at least a little duty to try and encourage people to read and some just don't have much extra money now. A plus is that by allowing at least some of your books to be loanedt you can pick up fans.