Good for the Soul

Jessie: Enjoying the warmer temperatures!

IMG_1798This week I had the great pleasure of traveling to Washington D.C. with two of my sons. One lives there and served as a tour guide for the trip. We had several places on our itinerary to visit that I looked forward to seeing but none that interested me more than a venture to the Library of Congress.

I think it is safe to say things in the nation’s capital have been fraught with every sort of tension lately. For the last couple of years every time Congress is mentioned in private conversations or in the news I’ve felt my stomach clench and my jaw tighten. But as a life-long reader and writer I found my spirits lifted to surprising heights as I stood in front of the Library of Congress and prepared to enter. My son led the way to the office where one goes to apply for a reading room card and within minutes I had a newly minted pass clutched tightly in my hand.

IMG_1800We presented our cards to the man on duty guarding the door and passed easily on into the breathtakingly beautiful space. I sat in silence at one of work spaces and stared up in awe at the domed ceiling. Inspiring words, carvings, paintings and sculptures fanned out above my head. Books and shelves and tiny staircases filled the reading room floor.

All around me people who valued books sat reading and writing and thinking. I felt entirely overwhelmed with gratitude that I could be a part of it, if only for a little while. Despite the clamor and the discord and the current trend of polarizing discourse there is still much to be loved about Washington. Especially if you happen to be a reader.

Readers, do you have spaces you consider sacred? Have you ever been to a library that touches your soul?


About Jessie Crockett

Jessie Crockett wears a lot of hats, both literally and literarily. As Jessie Crockett she is the Daphne Award winning author of Live Free or Die and the nationally bestselling Sugar Grove series. As Jessica Ellicott she has received starred reivews from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal for her historical mystery Murder in an English Village. As Jessica Estevao she writes the Agatha Award nominated Change of Fortune Mysteries. She loves the beach, fountain pens, Mini Coopers and throwing parties. She lives in northern New England where she obsessively knits wool socks and enthusiastically speaks Portuguese with a shocking disregard for the rules of grammar.
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9 Responses to Good for the Soul

  1. The art and gardens at the Huntington ( in Pasadena California is a place I’d never tire of. I was introduced to it in 1973 by my late friend Greg Boehmer. Beth and I revisited it about 15 years ago and I’d go back in a heartbeat. Acres of gardens, hundreds of rose bushes and paintings and furniture to die for.

  2. While the first library that I ever belonged to, the Flatlands branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, will always have a special place in my heart, these days, my local branch in my hometown is where I go to read and write. There’s something about being surrounded by its stacks and silence that makes it special. (Plenty of free parking doesn’t hurt either!)

  3. Barbara Ross says:

    I was in DC over the holidays, and I agree. Whatever else is going on, it’s a fascinating, diverse, and awe-inspiring place.

  4. bethc2015 says:

    I love being in our Maine Sate Library. I take our 4 year old granddaughter there when we visit the State Museum. There is an overstuffed chair next to a case of children’s books by Maine authors. What could be better? I also loved the Fogler Library at UMaine, the Library at UMA, the library in my home town of Andover, Massachusetts where I worked for four years . Oh heck. I love most any library.

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