Fire!

Curling up by the fire with a good book. Imagine that! This is many people’s idea of pure heaven. It is available to most anyone. On a cold winter afternoon, think of the blazing flames that emit a barrage of radiating heat, just enough to warm those thawing bones. What a respite after a walk in the brisk air. What could be better? Now add a cup of hot tea, maybe laced with a bit of bourbon, and you have the recipe for rest and relaxation. You can get rid of season woes in a flash. The question is which book?

I have my own candidates and no doubt you have yours. There are a lot of options in my opinion. Something intriguing and engrossing like a mystery or perhaps some nonfiction. There is a lot of history to catch up on these days. Politics or religion anyone? Given the vagaries of my imagination, I decided one Christmas to act on one of my best ideas and create a book display in the library for visitors. It revolved around a fireplace since it has all the charm and symbolism you could want for readers at this time of year.

It was holiday time within weeks so the winter imagery was most apt. So how would the display be configured? I could use a Lego fireplace or a plastic model. Tacky, I thought. I could draw it but my skills are nil. Then I had a flash of ideation. I didn’t want to tell anyone until it was all in place. It would be a surprise, and hopefully a delightful one.

I looked at photos of fireplaces and wood stoves first to be sure. They were nice, but clichéd in a book display. It would look like little effort had been made. A painting would be nice if one existed in the immediate vicinity. No, this was not the answer. What it turned out to be was my trusty tablet turned to the fireplace producing app. There indeed such an animal in case you didn’t know!

The display was on a long wooden table, dead center. There were stacks of books artfully arranged in strategic groupings. Library visitors could touch them and pick them up if they liked. I was prepared for nightly resorting. If a few were loaned out it would be easy to get new ones. After all, it was meant to instigate reading.

In the center of the display was the tablet, propped up on an easel. The fireplace was glowing brightly, a beacon to readers of all ages. Come and see! There are books awaiting! You will never be the same! A new world awaits! And it went on and on.

The display was a big hit and no one sarcastically declared “fire!” I was asked to keep it going by popular demand beyond the holiday season. I am sure it will reappear next year. It was so easy. The tablet was concealed by some leaves and miniature logs to add to the ambience. It was simple, but striking. My job is in IT and who knew I was a quasi-designer? I will have to add it to my resume for sure.

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