“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies; the man who never reads lives only one.”
When I was young, around four years old, I distinctly remember my mother teaching me to read. The book that I was learning was called Look Closer. It was about things found outside that you needed to (as the title implies) look at a little closer to find out what they are. This is one of the few positive memories I have of my mother, but that particular story is for another time. From then on, it was rare that I was seen without a book in my hands. I brought them on trips, to school, read them at family reunions and weddings. (No, really.. I was reading Harry Potter when my dad got married.) I think that I found a missing piece of myself in books. I connect so deeply with the characters, fall so far into the story line that it’s hard for me to pull myself out of it. When I read a book, I usually tend to read it all over a very short period of time so as to avoid mixing the real world with the book world.
When I was in high school, I was sitting in my English class reading The Fault in Our Stars at my desk. We had a substitute, so naturally I was blowing off the work that was assigned. Well, for those of you that have read the book, you know what happens. And for those of you who haven’t, I’m not about to give it away for you! I got to the climax, and I had such a strong emotional reaction. I tried incredibly hard not to cry in class, but for anyone who knows me, you know that hiding my feelings is not my forte. I had to walk down to the bathroom to collect myself, because I was sobbing uncontrollably over a book. People will say that’s silly or that I’m overly emotional (which I will admit that I am) but I cannot even explain the devastating feeling that I had in my stomach. I hurt so deeply that I was sure I was losing my mind. I was sucked so deep into the story that I felt as if I knew the characters personally. If was as if I had just lost a close friend.
Needless to say, nothing has changed since then. Books, and even movies have a very exhausting effect on me. I create a real life for these characters, I think about their families and friends, their dreams and relationships. I imagine what it would be like for me to go through something like that. B tells me that I’m too sensitive and that I overthink things, and he’s probably right.
I feel everything so deeply, and it makes me who I am.