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Lost In The Pages: My Lifelong Love Affair With Books

Do you know how it feels to be so immersed in a book that life seems to stop? I do. I get so absorbed in a story that I won't hear you call my name. I've always been that way.

A couch and lamp in a library

Today, I'm going to try to explain the draw I feel towards books and what they mean to me.

Escaping Reality

As a kid, I never went anywhere without a book. For as long as I can remember, I've used books to escape reality. When I'm reading about other people's lives, I'm not thinking about my own. The pain of the past and uncertainty of the future are irrelevant when I'm reading.

Books don't want anything from me. I don't have to be someone I'm not or say just the right thing. I don't have to create a plan or solve any problems.

The author is always there, guiding me through the wide range of emotions elicited by a well-written book. I'm pulled in completely, following a path the author has already laid out for me. All I have to do is buckle up and enjoy the ride. 

Living Another Life

When I delve into a book this way, I'm not reading a story anymore; I'm living another life.

I've been a 75-year-old man of color coming to terms with my sexuality in 1980s Antigua.

I've been a beautiful, young Cuban spy, working for the CIA, trying desperately to save my country in the aftermath of the Cuban Revolution.

I've been a powerful sorceress, slaying dragons, defeating evil, and winning the love of my nation.  

I've lived countless lives, experienced a thousand careers, been to faraway places, and met spectacular people, all through the pages of a book.

Making New Friends

While I experience the essence of each character, they become my friends. They're laid bare, their darkest desires and deepest fears on display. We grow and dream together. We love and cry together. We suffer loss and celebrate victories together. Those characters are a part of me now. Some of my best friends and biggest inspirations never existed outside of words on a page.

The Hard Part

But at some point, every book comes to an end. 

It's no great tragedy, I know. But sorrow clings to my soul like sand clings to your skin at the beach. The story is over, and I'll never again experience it for the first time.

It feels like holding a funeral for an entire world. There's nothing left to learn about these characters, no more adventures together, and no new ideas to learn. 

In reality, it's only been a few days, but it feels like I lived a lifetime inside that book, and I can't shake the feeling of loss in my heart.

Starting Again

Thinking of starting a new book is unpalatable in the moments after finishing a great story. I need time to mourn the world I've been so absorbed in. I'm always unwilling to let go of the attachment I developed to the characters, at least for a while. 

Once I grieve the loss of my friends and cherish the memories of the world I've just left behind, I look forward to the endless possibilities in the pages of a new book.

Why Books Matter

As I get older, I understand how literature benefits the world as a whole.

Books have the incredible ability to expand our horizons, challenge our perspectives, and increase a person's capacity for empathy, understanding, and compassion.

They help us understand the experiences of people who are different from us. I've witnessed struggles, encountered viewpoints, and visited places I would never have been exposed to otherwise. 

Until Next Time

Through literature, we can walk in someone else's shoes, experience their joys and sorrows, and gain a deeper appreciation for the diversity of human experience. Each story I encounter adds richness and depth to my life. To some people, books are nothing but ink and paper. But to me, they're everything.

I love book recommendations, so please let me know what books you love at your next appointment! Click the button below to book your next session.

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