Sure, it sounds dramatic. Anything that “changes your life” is going to sound dramatic, honestly, because it is dramatic. You’re changing your life. Everything is different now.
From the second you picked it up, you knew it was different. It flowed differently, it read to you. You couldn’t read fast enough, and as the pages flew by, you didn’t have a choice. You read it with feverish excitement, fierce engagement, and ferocity. You couldn’t wait to get to the end, but you can’t imagine it ending. And what happens after? The story just worked, and whether you were reading from a downtown subway car or under your bedsheets ’til dawn, it didn’t matter. You read breathlessly, with fervour, hanging off of each syllable, using the chapter breaks to catch your breath. You are a slave to this novel, mind, body, and soul, and there’s no use fighting it. It will steal your time, money, and brainpower, and you will accept it wholeheartedly.
The story envelops you as no story has since you were a child. The author knows exactly what you need; but how can they know you so well? This book will become a filter on your life, affecting everything you think and feel for all of time. You will feverishly seek out everything the author has ever written. The book came at the time that you needed it most. It’s not like it was the first book you’ve ever read, but this one had something different. Something memorable. Like your first pet, you feel a sense of commitment and maternal fondness that only grew with time. Like your first love, you feel an overwhelming sense of adoration and intimacy that takes you by surprise. Like your first time having GOOD sex, you can’t believe what you’ve been missing. Like your first time living on your own, the freedom is astonishing. You’ll wonder how you lived with so many rules for so long, and how you never noticed.
Books don’t talk back. They won’t use up all of your internet bandwidth, and they want nothing more than to be enjoyed. They seek no electricity, no nourishment, and they will never, ever ask you for your Wi-Fi password. They’ll never run out of batteries, and never ask of anything in return.
“The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.”
I’ve always felt that everything written is co-related. A major part of writing as a youth and young adult comes from what you write in school. We’re taught essay structure and planning. We’re taught to balance arguments and lead strong, life lessons that passed most of us by because we were too busy hating high school English (compulsory English means 80% of the kids don’t want to be there, and the other 20% weren’t ballsy enough to fuel a decent academic environment). State your point, elaborate with your three arguments, and restate your point by the end. If the essay is good, you’ll understand their points. If the essay is great, those points will affect your course of thought. A great novel does the same. It changes your perception. It takes you out of your world and into another, one with ideas and frivolities and dangers that open your mind.
You will remember this book more than 99% of your high school, 80% of your first year of post-sec, and much of your childhood. It will find times to make you laugh, cry, and ironically show up when you need it most. It will torture you, punch you in the face, and throw you down an elevator shaft, only to meet you at the bottom with another swift kick in the teeth. And when you’re finished, it’s like the first day of summer. Where do you start next?
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.”
-George R.R. Martin
If you’re lucky, this book will start an inevitable change in your life, and you will unleash upon yourself the mind-blowing abilities of what it’s like to really be a lover of books. You will read so many stories of different places and people and times that your memories and your books will become entwined. You will become overcome with historical wanderlust, and you will begin to judge people on their taste in books (or lack thereof). As the digital revolution progresses, there will always be a small, nagging fear in the back of your mind that they will stop printing books altogether, but you quell that thought with another stockpile purchase from Chapters whenever it arises. You will learn that there is a right timing for everything in life, especially books. You will catch yourself buying a second copy of your favourite book so you can freely wear out the first one without guilt. You will fall in love with books in a way that changes everything else in your life and makes falling in real love even more extraordinary. Welcome to Crazy, we love it here.
“Do not pity the dead, pity the living, and above all those who respond “I don’t read,” to the question “What’s your favorite book?”