I sat with my son at Barnes and Noble this afternoon; it’s one of our favorite things to do together. We’ve drunk coffee, written in leather journals, and sat reading silently across the table from each other for almost twenty years.
As I perused the fiction aisles, with only gift cards to Borders in my pocket, I saw Audrey Niffenegger’s visual book, The Night Bookmobile. As eerie as you would suspect from someone who wears mahogany lipstick without mascara, calls Chicago home, and can credit The Time Traveler’s Wife to her imagination, this story is about a girl who encounters the bookmobile at four o’clock one morning while wandering from Irving Park to Ravenswood.
Inside, is every book she’s ever read.
But, she’s not allowed to be a librarian there because it’s only for the living…
In the After Words, I found this passage:
When I began writing The Night Bookmobile, it was a story about a woman’s secret life as a reader. As I worked it also became a story about the claims that books place on their readers, the imbalance between our inner and outer lives, a cautionary tale of the seductions of the written world. It became a vision of the afterlife as a library, of heaven as a funky old camper filled with everything you’ve ever read. What is this heaven? What is it we desire from the hours, weeks, lifetimes we devote to books? What would you sacrifice to sit in that comfy chair with perfect light for an afternoon in eternity, reading the perfect book, forever? ~Audrey Niffenegger