Books have always had a major impact on my life. I honestly don't remember learning to read. In my memory, I have always had the ability - and the absolute, physical need - to read. Books move me in ways that little else can. They make me think. They transport me. They force me to analyze the thoughts, feelings, experiences, motives of people beyond my immediate circle of friends/family.*
Beyond that, though, they remove me from the world for awhile. They alter the way I think about things. When I read a book about a dog with an almost-human understanding of language, I wondered for weeks whether my pets really understood more than I could imagine. It's fascinating, and wonderful. And sometimes, mildly frightening.
Because I really can lose myself in the world of a book. While work beckons, and projects sit unfinished, my mind returns time and again to the world that only exists inside of the pages of my latest novel. It consumes me, making it impossible to concentrate fully, until I finally close that back cover with a sigh of relief, knowing that the certainty of the ending will allow me, once more, to return my focus to the real things I need to do.
This pull is even stronger when the story arc is continued throughout multiple books. If the story is particularly compelling, I can whiz through a series in a matter of days. And when reality interferes with my quality time with that series, it is almost painful to resist the pull of the written word.
Books affect me. And change me. And fulfill me. And though I feel guilty admitting it, sometimes, I know that I am not alone.
*I really need to invent a new word that means friends/family - a term that encompasses all those I love and care about that I consider family, whether they are related by blood, by marriage or by choice. More on that later, I'm sure. . .
In case you're wondering this post was inspired by the Hunger Games series. They really are fantastic, but a word of warning: set aside a weekend to read through them all. Because you won't want to put them down. Promise.