Books have always held magic for me. I walk into a bookstore with lust in my heart and money in hand, hurriedly threading my way between patrons, my eyes feasting on the colorful titles that line the shelves, searching for the right story to match whatever mood I happen to be in.
Just the smell of the ink on the new pages sends a thrill coursing through me and engulfs my time and attention for hours as each turned page takes me deeper into adventures previously unknown.
The end of a book is something to be both anticipated and dreaded.
Books are more satisfying than the richest dessert (and that's saying a lot for this chocoholic—though a good book and a slice of chocolate torte have sent me into raptures).
I first discovered the magic of books in the second grade. My tiny elementary school, with its three rooms and forty children encompassing eight grades, stressed the importance of reading. I unexpectedly reached a new juncture when I was forced to check out a book to read on my own.
I don't recall the titles in the series I fell in love with, but they had rich yellow covers that sent a wave of anticipation through me each time I discovered a new yellow spine hiding among the brown and ecru colored books that lined the bookshelves.
I read them all, over and over, these delicious yellow books that regaled the legends of the gods and goddesses of Hawaii. Being a model participant in my Sunday School class, it felt a bit daring to be reading something so pagan.
But these books transported me from the cold, rainy winters of Oregon to lush, balmy rainforests, warm lagoons with cascading waterfalls, and to the volcano where Pele wielded her power.
Those books opened a door that took me from an existence of shyness and isolation into a world where I became strong, confident and capable—the heroine who could solve any problem, who could say "no" with fire in her eyes.
These books started me on a path of learning about lands foreign to my landscape and showed me that books could take me to places beyond myself.
In a sense, books saved me and opened my eyes to what could be.