Cheaper than therapy, safer than drugs. More convenient than a beach in Aruba.

Reading can get us out: out of our surroundings, our stresses. Out of our heads. It can be an escape into the deepest thoughts and darkest moments of people whose lives are infinitely more complicated (but also more interesting) than our own.

I was reminded of this just recently when, for reasons that don’t need to be detailed here,  my head became a less-than-idyllic place to be, and I did what I so often do when life feels too hard and too overwhelming: I picked up a book.

The book was over too quickly, but it had done exactly what I needed.  As long as I was turning those pages,I was gone. Totally free. I don’t think there is anything else, not movies, not internet, not even music, that can put us so completely in a different place. This is why the library is my friend and Amazon.com is my constant temptation/enemy. The reason that I yawn through a day at work after staying up till three with that new book that I can’t put down. And after escaping into someone else’s world and then crashing regretfully back into my own, every time, I come back different. I’ve experienced new things, felt emotions more deeply, seen from the inside out relationships I couldn’t have otherwise imagined. Whenever I read a good book, no matter who the author or what the genre, I don’t just come back refreshed, I resurface knowing more than I did before.  And that is what keeps me coming back–to the bookstore, the library, and also to the stories inside my head that are currently struggling to come to life on my laptop screen.  Over and over again.