Our Reading Lives

Books Are My Only House Guests

Danielle Bourgon is an educator, theatre artist, and book lover from Toronto, Ontario. When she’s not drinking tea and reading on the couch she’s recommending books to her students, friends, and family. She’s a feminist, a nerd, and a baker. Oh. And she has Hogwarts tattooed on her arm.

I recently moved across the country. Moving is always a special time to me. I love the Christmas morning feeling of unpacking boxes and revealing all of the glorious things that make up your life; including my books. For this move, I knew I had to pay by the pound, so I had to edit my collection down to just five boxes. Opening those boxes and arranging them on my bookcase made a big difference in terms of having my new apartment and my new city feel like home.

Growing up in a small farming town and being a lover of art and literature meant that I wasn’t the most popular kid around. Books were truly some of my best friends growing up. I found comfort and joy in reading about the adventures of Hermione and Matilda and Jo March. In university when I felt lonely and sad about living away from home I would reach for Tuck Everlasting, spend my afternoon with Winnie Foster, and instantly feel better.

With this move I’ve left behind the family and community I’ve made for myself. While I feel blessed to get to do this particular relocation with my fantastic new husband, I have also found myself feeling lonely without the safety net of our social group. Hosting our friends at our place for board game nights and meeting at pubs for trivia nights were a regular part of our lives. However, as we begin a life in this new location, I miss not only the people, but the feeling of connection that came with these social engagements.

Luckily, I have my books and my reading life for this new chapter of my life. When I find myself bored or depressed or anxious about this part of our big life change, I have been able to walk to my new library branch or browse at a local indie bookstore. There are also plenty of bookish events and book clubs I’ve added to my social calendar to help combat the loneliness that comes from looking at an empty schedule. All ways in which books have remained a source of comfort and connection.

For now my books are my only house guests, a thought that was initially depressing and has grown to be a source of comfort. While I keep reaching out for friendship in the real world, I am so blessed that I get to travel with Angie Thomas, Octavia Butler, Jane Austen, and the rest of my forever friends.