“Books may well be the only true magic.”
Books are my escape.
I have been an avid reader since early childhood and read everything I could get my hands on from my mother’s college mythology textbook when I was seven years old to Mange-moi, s’il te plait as an adult. In college, my reading dwindled because my brain could only handle so much, but I have begun to read more since I graduated. Depending on the engagement in my current course load, I still read for pleasure where I may. (Bus commuting is prime reading/writing time.)
There is nothing like a well-crafted tale to suck me in to a story and pull me away from myself. I love living vicariously through the characters, exploring their emotional arcs along the way. (I’m a very sympathetic reader.) And who can deny a good adventure story? Real life can be so mundane, and I must confess I rather prefer the safety of a good read than actually getting kidnapped, shot at, or stalked by sharks.
Books are my education.
Of course I use textbooks as education, but there are many novels that I have read that have taught me about life, relationships, and the world around me. Take the story Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson. This is the first book I read where I was a complete wreck all through the last chapter. I read about twins Sara and Caroline and identified with the sibling rivalry. Beyond that, I realized more how my own sister might view our relationship. It was by reading, and being pulled out of myself, that I became more sensitive to my sister.
People respond to stories differently than they respond to facts. A story about South Africa’s apartheid (Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton), for example, tells me more about the nuances of the laws than a sterile summary from a history book. Hearing a person’s story in that person’s voice evokes a reaction.
Books are not an option.
Ok, that might sound extreme, but I firmly believe in the power of books. All books, whether sacred or secular, change people. Even poorly written books have that ability because you wind up forming an opinion–of the author’s style, of the genre, of the terrible relationship dynamics portrayed *coughtwilightcough*–that affects you in some way. Because of this belief, I try to promote reading wherever I am and learn what I may about literacy.
Books: I love ’em. 🙂