Even before I could read, my father took me to the library almost every day as a child. At first, I didn’t get it. I’d watch him engrossed in historical non-fiction. What were all those words on paper? Instead, I’d amuse myself by flipping through picture books.
After I learned how to read, I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. My dad didn’t have to take me to the library anymore; I happily went on my own.
Fiction transported me to another time. The stories transformed me. I felt pain and exhilaration. I could be someone else, experience another life. I cried for Gatsby. I partied with the expatriates in The Sun Also Rises. I surrendered myself to the classics. Books helped me escape.
As I’ve grown older, as much as I continue to enjoy fiction, I no longer use books as an escape. My life is enriched by books: How to Win Friends and Influence People, The Power of Now, and The Secret. I’ve challenged myself and learned things I wouldn’t have had it not been for a best seller that caught my eye or a strong recommendation from a friend.
I loved and continue to love books for all the reasons every else does: to escape, to enrich, to feel—the sadness, the beauty, the depth of it all.