Libraries as Vacation Spots

Kristin Cast is a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author who teamed with her mother to write the wildly successful House of Night series. She has editorial credits, a thriving t-shirt line, and a passion for all things paranormal. When away from her writing desk, Kristin loves relaxing with her family, friends, and her dogs, as well as discovering new hobbies. This year she’ll work on swimming, yoga, and adding to her Doctor Who collection. Follow her on Twitter  @KCastAuthor.

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Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about taking a vacation. A lot. I mean, I may be obsessed. My first stand-alone novel releases soon. Then, my book tour begins. While on tour, I’ll also be writing. As an adult, the work never seems to end. I’m excited and sleep deprived. I’m nervous and sleep deprived. I’m neurotic and sleep deprived. I NEED A VACAY! As I’ve been fantasizing about lovely, relaxing, spa-centric vacation destinations I thought back on some of my favorite vacations, and was surprised by what was at the top of my list. Many places are fabulous and fun, but they were trumped by my favorite childhood vacation – going to our local library!

Okay, I should explain. Mom, bestselling author PC Cast, raised me as a single parent on a public school teacher’s salary in Oklahoma after she put herself through college. When she started college I was two years old. We had zero money while Mom went to school, and then little more than zero money while she struggled to teach high school and write for three publishers at the same time. But I didn’t know we had no money. I thought we had lots of money because we took so many vacations! While Mom was in college in Illinois we used to go by the Fannie Mae candy store in Bourbonnais, IL, choose our own “special vacation candies,” and then we’d head to our vacation spot – the local library. It was fantastic! The Bourbonnais library was air-conditioned! It had big, comfy chairs! It was quiet! And, best of all, it was filled with books! I’d curl up with my little pieces of special vacation candies and piles of books – starting with Mercer Mayer’s Little Critters series – and off I’d go on my vacation! I remember how perfect it was in that library. It smelled like books and chocolate and happiness. It gave me a sense of peace that I can still find whenever I pass the threshold of a library.

When Mom finished college we moved home to Tulsa – actually Broken Arrow, Oklahoma – where our vacations continued! The South Broken Arrow library was my favorite. It was within walking distance of our little condo, and it had all of the Hank the Cowdog books, as well as The Baby-sitters Club and The Boxcar Children. I never got tired of settling myself in that cool oasis of peace surrounded by a pile of books on a hot day. It was there that I discovered The Last Unicorn, and bawled my eyes out at the beauty of Peter S. Beagle’s prose, and began to think that maybe, just maybe, I could take readers on vacation adventures with my own written words.

So many years have passed since those library vacation days, but I can still conjure the smell of books and the peace of that special public library that I believed was really my library – special to me – my own vacation of imagination. Actually, in writing this I’ve found that I’m not so stressed and tired and neurotic anymore. I’m incredibly blessed. And soon, very soon, I’m going to stop by the candy store on the way to the little library right down the street from my house. Man, I hope they have a copy of Hank the Cowdog

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