Simple delights: The joy of reading from your “Magic Bookcase”

Simple delights: The joy of reading from your “Magic Bookcase”

All around Australia millions of people are enjoying a summer break. This year, more than any other, it’s been an absolute joy to visit our relatives and friends or host them in our home, feeling grateful for the company of those we hold dear. Many people have taken the opportunity to rent a holiday house in a beautiful location around Australia, exploring new territory or revisiting past favourite locations.

Plans have been adjusted numerous times, as we roll with the pandemic punches.

For our family, every summer brings a certain amount of anticipation for the summer break, with much planning and organising to ensure the perfect set-up to create happy memories and find the right balance of relaxation and activity.

Sometimes it’s better than we planned, sometimes it doesn’t live up to expectations. But there is always one thing that sparks instant joy: the discovery of a stash of books and boardgames that are different to what we have at home.

There should be a word in our English language for the joy of finding an interesting selection of books and boardgames in your holiday house.

This summer we encountered a bookcase full of old books and battered boardgames.  We’ve rediscovered Dr Seuss and his friends. Reading these books again is like travelling through time, as three generations have now experienced these books. We still find the nonsense, rhymes, and illustrations incredibly hilarious and entertaining. We’ve also rediscovered Lee Child’s early works, played Test Match and Mouse Trap, learnt how to accommodate the missing card in the deck of playing cards and made retro recipes from a 1972 community cookbook.

There hasn’t been a dull moment! “The Magic Bookcase” of books and games has been popular with all ages. Any time boredom strikes we redirect our attention to the bookcase and dig out something exquisitely retro. If we’d stayed any longer, I might have started a macrame project, inspired by the delightfully detailed Macrame for Beginners hardcover book that was gathering dust on the top shelf.

It’s been a perfect holiday and many of our memories will be about those books and games and the fun we had together reading and playing. “The Magic Bookcase” brought together three generations and created opportunity for sharing stories. It helped us engage with each other in different ways, beyond the usual transactional exchanges of daily life. We didn’t need to step through the back of a wardrobe or enter a Tardis: we could just step up to the bookcase and enter another time and place, taking the rest of the family on a journey down memory lane with us, while creating fresh stories that will be retold for many years.

“The Magic Bookcase” is one of life’s simple pleasures. Inexpensive to create. And priceless.

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