there were piles of them. some covered in a shell of hard cardboard. others glossy. some stuffed. some finished. some unfinished. some never started. adventures. mysteries. love stories. paper clips hold places. folded ears mark favorite verses. the titles. the authors. the lonely and the popular. multiple volumes and missing parts. stains from tears and surprising rain storms. one wetted from a flood after a hurricane. some with spines bent apart and broken. some pristine, kept clean and new inside clear plastic. notes scribbled inside them. love and questions. victories and defeats. truth and lies. intertwined by bards on pages.