If I could marry my books I would. Instead, they’re packed up in boxes and living in a dark attic – but I can’t think about that because it makes me sad. Instead, I think about the late nights I’ve spent turning the pages of a book with tears streaming down my face as I wonder whose heart will be broken. I think about the times I’m alone with a book and let out a loud laugh as the hero does something ridiculous. I think about the intense feeling I have when I close the book for the last time and am left wondering why I feel so lost when I leave the characters behind.
Every time I open a book I find I am thrown into a great love affair with an imperfect man, admiring a strong woman who I wish to emulate, and living in an intricate world unlike my own – even when I’m reading realism. You can never own a book, but you can certainly make room for a book on your already crowded shelves and hope it makes room for you in its full and beautiful pages. I feel like my home is empty for the lack of books I have around me (the three on my bedside table look so alone), even though practicality dictates I should stick to borrowing and not buying.
I love books. I like to think books love me, too. Sometimes I hear them call out to me when I pass. When I see someone reading I want to ask them what it is, which of the characters they love, what part they will miss most when it comes to an end. I cannot walk past a bookstore – I have to go inside and wander through the shelves, waiting for a book to whisper my name. There’s always one … or two or three … and I take them home as though I’ve won a great prize. There is eagerness when I reach the counter, a greed that an observant sales assistant would notice in my eyes. By the time I get my books home I am hungry for their words, the characters and story and world that exist beyond my own.
Every book I read gives something to me and takes something from me. I’ve delved into narratives that have given me strength and inspiration while taking away my doubts and worries. I’ve met characters who have made me sick and frustrated and given me an appreciation for the good in the world. I’ve been given love, grief, action, solitude … and I leave a part of myself behind in every book I close.
I feel that my love for books will not fade – despite the occasional cursing that takes place when trying to fit fifteen books in a carry-on suitcase – and I can think of nothing that I would rather do more than read books, write books, and continue with my literary love affair.