Green River Star -

By Lindsey Travis
Sweetwater County Library System 

Up for some time travel?


“All time is all time. It does not change. It does not lend itself to warnings or explanations. It simply is.”

― Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

Sometimes I wish that time didn’t take so long. I know that sounds strange, but I’m sure you’ve been in situations in which time seems to pass very slowly. A recent example for me is a road trip back from a funeral in Illinois. It was a 17-hour drive to get back home to Green River, and for some of it, it felt as though we were traveling in slow motion.

We saw cornfield after cornfield and farmhouse after farmhouse as we made our way across Iowa on Interstate 80. Oh, how slowly time went by.

Other times, however, I wish time would slow down. When reading or listening to a good book, for example. This happened on that same 17-hour trip. It was my turn to drive, and the rest of my family fell asleep. I put in an audiobook – “Slaughterhouse-Five,” by Kurt Vonnegut. Despite the fact that I’m an avid reader, I hadn’t yet experienced this classic. Narrated by Ethan Hawke, time sped up as I listened to the story. I was pulled into Billy Pilgrim’s world and wanted to hear more. Before I knew it, we were almost through Nebraska and the story was over – too soon, in my opinion.

One of the awesome things about books is that they have a way of manipulating time. They can speed it up, making an hour feel like 10 minutes.

They can transport you to different times, pushing you into the future and pulling you back into the past. While listening to “Slaughterhouse-Five,” I traveled through many time periods -- World War II, the 1920s, the 1960s -- and traveled across the world and across space. All of this happened while driving for six hours on I-80.

As Vonnegut writes in “Slaughterhouse-Five,” “It is just an illusion here on Earth that one moment follows another one, like beads on a string, and that once a moment is gone, it is gone forever.” It’s because of books that moments aren’t gone forever. Books preserve thoughts and feelings, tragedies and suffering, happiness and joy. They allow us to see the mistakes or successes of one time or another, and they allow us to revisit them whenever we choose.

As you head into the holiday season, take the time to do some time traveling by reading. Read a book with family or friends. Listen to an audiobook while traveling to visit loved ones. Take the time to remember the past or look into the future.

To help encourage your winter reading, sign up for the library’s Winter Reading Program, “Snow is Falling, Books are Calling.” We have reading programs for people of all ages – babies through adults – and we encourage you to read whatever books you like.

The Winter Reading Program starts on Nov. 30. Stop by any of the Sweetwater County libraries starting that date to register.


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