To my beloved books,

The day we met, you were two thousand five hundred years old, I was one. I had no idea what your words meant back then, but I curiously stepped into the worlds you presented in your pictures.

When I was old enough to go to school, I loaded a bag full of you on my feeble shoulders and hit the road. I was over the moon when the famous red ribbon [given to those who learned to read] was pinned on my black school uniform. I never understood the disappointed faces when you appeared from a shiny gift wrapper.

When I was a little older, my dear father told me that I could spend as much as I wanted on one thing. You. I benevolently seized on this generous offer. My bond with ‘you’ grew stronger in time, I became more connected. You opened up the world to me, you helped me discover my opinions and feelings. I started to underline sentences. I wanted you to be with me, regardless of whether the times were good or bad. You were what got me back on my feet when I was confused at the crossroads of life; when I tried and miserably failed to change something beyond my control; when I felt too frail and helpless to continue. Let alone a life without you, I couldn’t spend a day without you.

I looked forward to every meeting with you. Going down to the beach, crossing on the ferry, returning home, being alone… I was never annoyed with those late to an appointment. After all, it gave me the opportunity to spend time with you.

Everywhere seemed more beautiful to me with you. Bookstores became my sanctuary. Sometimes I was asked, ‘but which one is your favourite?Shakespeare in Paris, I’d reply, even though I felt like a mother forced to choose her favourite child. What more could a person want when there is a myriad of stories strewn on wooden shelves, handwritten notes, the sound of the piano and soft cushions to thoroughly enjoy this universe?

I value memories tremendously, so it will come as no surprise that I have a different kind of bond with second-hand bookstores. A name, a date, a city… these little notes written by previous owners project me to different places and times. I went beyond my local shops… On the other side of the world, I found a warehouse full of books -specialising in my other passion, fashion history. The owner apologised for leading me into such a place. I said, ‘You can’t apologise for showing me heaven.’

Libraries, on the other hand, have always given me a profound feeling. I’ve been to many special ones around the world, feeling high while sober under those high ceilings. But who would know that one day I would be lucky enough to curate an art library visited by thousands of people?

And then one day, I sat down to write you…

For many, this came as no surprise considering the newspapers I prepared for my family in primary school, the literary awards in secondary school, and journalism as a career in my adult life. For me, despite it all, it is all very unexpected and exciting.

I wrote you with a friend whom I met through our love of literature. I admit being prejudiced against the bestsellers section in bookstores until that day, but when I saw you in white sleeve on the top shelf ‘#1’, I stared at you like a proud parent. This time, your spell charmed me as a writer, not as a reader. Could you be any more beautiful?

I’m writing this letter now, in my favourite corner of our house, in front of shelves full of you. With countless friends from Ayfer Tunç’s Madam, to Jack London’s Martin, from Abidin Dino to Eckhart Tolle.

Again, on a quiet winter morning, I will write you in my favourite cafe, with the coming of spring I will read you on a bench in the park. I will fill that library with the most beautiful books in the world, where the sun shines through its windows.

To many more of you; to read, to write, to share!

I love you so much, so in a different way…