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May 10, 2019

Melanie Benjamin: The Magic of the Bookmobile

Posted by tom

We wrap up this year’s Mother’s Day Author Blog series with a lovely piece from Melanie Benjamin, whose new historical novel, MISTRESS OF THE RITZ, releases on May 21st. Melanie recalls the day that her mother drove her to their local Bookmobile, a big RV that was filled with books from floor to ceiling. She was fascinated by the experience and resolved to be a Bookmobile driver when she grew up. Although that didn't happen, Melanie has enjoyed a life full of books and reading --- and she owes it all to her mom.



Mother’s Day is one of those holidays that can be difficult to navigate. Not all of us had the best relationships with our mothers. My mother was not cut out for raising children; I think that’s the charitable way to look at it. But there is one thing she did that I’ll forever be grateful for: she introduced me to books. She was an enormous reader --- not a discerning one as she didn’t read great literature --- but she always had a book in her hand, and so I grew up thinking this was what everybody did.

I’ll never forget the day she drove me to the parking lot of a local grocery store. There, in the lot, was a big RV with a line of people waiting to get inside. We took our place in line, and when we entered the RV, my entire world changed. It was filled, floor to ceiling, with books! My mother explained that this was the Bookmobile. I thought it was magical, and I decided that when I grew up, I wanted to be the person who drove the Bookmobile so I could live my life surrounded by books. To be honest, I was a little sad when the local library system built a physical branch near us, because that meant the end of the Bookmobile.

When I grew up, I did not become a Bookmobile driver. But I have lived a life full of books and reading, and for that, I thank my mother. Thanks, Mom!