A couple of recent events made me realize how grateful I am for the books in our lives. I was reading Pachinco by Jin Min Lee when the Kincade fire broke out and disrupted our lives once again. Thousands were evacuated and many who were lucky enough to remain home were without electricity and many without gas or water. So far this year, the bookstore has been closed for six days due to power shutoffs by PG&E.
Being unable to work at the bookstore made me feel grateful to have such a wonderful career as a bookseller. I realized that there have been many times that I have taken the bookstore for granted. The generational family saga depicted in Pachinco stepped up my gratitude in several areas. The hardships that the characters faced (Korean immigrants in Japan) made me realize that I have very little to complain about in comparison, even without power! The women were completely controlled by their husbands and families and had to overcome many hardships to be able to work at all. I have taken for granted all the progress made by women in the US. Many women now hold high positions in government that would have been unthinkable even a decade ago. The book also helps put in perspective the current plight of immigrants in our country. The Korean immigrants were looked down on, discriminated against and thrown into prison without trials. I often find myself concerned that we have not made much progress in this area.
I am grateful that I had such a good book to read to help me "escape" from the reality we were facing in Sonoma County. At home, without power and no television, all you needed was a little light to read by to be taken away from the harsh realities of life. Books are so portable that there is always room for one in a backpack when evacuations happen. It can be comforting for a child to be read a favorite book when events around them are in flux.
James Patterson and Danielle Steel are popular enough to get several books printed every year, but they are the exceptions. It is commonly said that fewer than one percent of submitted manuscripts ever make it into print! I am grateful for all those writers out there laboring away to provide us with such an amazing thing as a book.
Books both entertain and educate so let's be thankful for books and never take them for granted! Jill B.