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Friday, September 27, 2013

Novel: A Love Affair

 “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.” -George R.R. Martin

If you know anything about me at know I love to read. Love is not a strong enough emotion for what I feel about reading. Obsession. Preoccupation. Immersion. My first love. Books. If I had to be exiled somewhere, I would choose a library. If I was the last person left alive on this planet, I would make my home in a book store. I could spend infinite hours of my life reading. I was the weird kid in school that actually enjoyed reading assignments and approached them with great enthusiasm.

 “Books are like imprisoned souls till someone takes them down from a shelf and frees them.”-Samuel Butler

The world of fiction has taken me places I may never see. Shown me things about myself I have never known. Offered up a world of possibility and perspective on love, life, death and emotion that maybe I would never have access to otherwise. It has saved my sanity. Enhanced my being. Offered comfort from a crushing loneliness that I have always felt prowling the dark places in my mind. Reading has been one of the only constant things in an ever shifting life I call my own. Without books I don't know where I would be.

 “Maybe this is why we read, and why in moments of darkness we return to books: to find words for what we already know.” -Alberto Manguel

Sometimes I think I need rehab. It's not normal to be so engrossed in something that isn't real at all. To place such heavy importance on ideas plucked from thin air and thrown onto a sheet of paper seems crazy to me at times. But I guess there could be worse things than having a love affair with a novel. It's important to have things that make you feel. Reading makes me feel. It forces me to confront myself. My fears. My hesitations. My failures. Me. I never feel more myself than when I am reading a book. And I guess maybe this love affair is a good thing.

“And she is the reader
who browses the shelf
and looks for new worlds
but finds herself.” 
-Laura Purdie Salas