My dad joined the military when I was six years old, and we’ve been moving from base to base ever since. This might horrify a lot of people, but staying in one place for the rest of my life is equally horrifying to me. I can’t imagine being stuck in a single town, in a single state, and in a single country for the rest of your life.

But there are plenty of people who disagree. At one base, we met a family who talked about a “forever home.” It was the house that they were building that they would live in after he retired from the military.

Naturally, I wrote it off as a “Never Home” in my case. If I can’t move again in three years, no thank you. But my mother, as she always does, found a practical application for my life. A Forever Library.

I loved the idea and started right away.

It’s a meager thing now. A couple books sitting along the top of my desk.

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And each one has a story behind the book itself or how I got it.

The Giver helped me learn to see things from a different point of view. From something as simple as the miracle of color or as complex as the possibility of authority figures being wrong.

Percy Jackson and The Lighting Thief was the first book I read that really made me go, “Oh my goodness books and reading are the bestest to ever best.” I used to be a little upset that I didn’t have the series with the lovely covers featuring Percy’s New York skyline, but now I’m glad to have the covers that I grew up with.

That tattered Pilgrim’s Progress was a gift from one of my oldest friends and mentors, Chaplain Gilbert. He gave it to my dad, and my dad gave it to me in turn. He used to read it out loud to us at night.

The Jane Austen compilation was picked up by my parents at–of all places–a Costco. I’d been a fan of Pride and Prejudice, but I really wanted to read Sense and Sensibility. I loved Emma as well, although I still need to read Northinger Abbey. It awaits me in the Forever Library.

Then I have a Reader’s Digest with The Scarlet Pimpernel (one of my favorite classics), Tom Sawyer (one I believe I’m required to like as a Southern Person™), The Good Earth (as suggested by my mother) and Robin Hood (who doesn’t love Robin Hood?)

Next is the obligatory Tolkien tribute. A beautifull illustrated Atlas, an equally beautifull illustrated The Hobbit, and a lovely faux-leather bound LOTR.

Last are two little known books. One is The Secret of Ms. Snickle’s Class, and the other is Zoo School. While considerably younger than my other books, these two helped cement my love of reading. And I so, so wanted to attend a zoo school myself.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a messy reader. I turn down corners, I read while eating, I turn around the covers of paperbacks to hold more easily when I’m in public. I can hear some of you screaming in agony right now, and I apologize for my horrible treatment of books.

But I do love a nice set of books. And that’s what my Forever Library is for: the immortalization of some of my favorite books.

So what books would you like to have in your Forever Library? Do you already have one? Let me know in the comments, or email me at j.a.apricity@gmail.com!

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