Emily Dickinson (1830 – 1886) wrote this poem:
“There is no Frigate like a Book To take us Lands away, Nor any Coursers like a Page Of prancing Poetry – This Traverse may the poorest take Without oppress of Toll – How frugal is the Chariot That bears a Human soul.”
I remember well hearing this poem when I was in grade school. The boys in the class always snickered hearing the word “frigate” as it was so close to the usual “oh, frig it.”
However for me anyway; reading a gripping book was exactly like being on a wonderful journey (by boat, car or plane). I can’t remember all the times my mother told me to stop reading and go to bed already. But when I turned my light off, I would pull the blankets over my head and turn on my flashlight to finish the book I was reading. If a book was gripping enough, I would read until I fell asleep.
There is something wonderful about letting yourself go into the book you are reading. There have been many books I’ve read that made me want to “live in a good book,” as I think the singer Maggie May once sung (if I’m wrong, please let me know). Even when I finish a book, it often takes days for me to stop smiling. A good book can lift you up and out of fear, doubt, worry and anger like nobody’s business.
Ever since our most unwelcome pandemic has forced us all to be pretty much house-bound, reading is a great way to get out of the glooms and dooms. I started to read and re-read loads of my book collection. The Crankee Yankee asked me if I would like to go to our local Barnes and Noble bookstore to get some new books. Would I! Just yesterday, I spent some very happy time there and came home with seven new books. From now on, the Crankee Yankee refers to the bookstore as “a visit to Doctors Barnes and Noble.”
There is indeed no frigate like a new book. Once I’ve read to my heart’s content, I come out of that happy daze thinking ‘what pandemic?’ These are strange times indeed, but reading a great book can change your attitude. Oh, of course a good meal and booze are fine, too, but you can’t beat a good read.