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There’s something about a book. Well, about a story really but when I think about it the format does matter.

It’s the reason I spent one out of two recesses in kindergarten reading, and why I’ve been a bookworm ever since. Books offer much desired escapes into whole worlds of thrilling adventure, sweet romance and deep reflection into the human soul.

Every book I read is like a true companion with whom I share some part of my life. When I first pick up a new book, I examine the cover thoroughly. I allow my first impressions to form before turning, sometimes slowly and sometimes fervently, to read the opening lines. I begin to meet the story, the characters, the setting. I barely keep myself from falling in completely at this point.

Later, when I have undisturbed time to call my own, I settle down to become better acquainted with this new presence in my life. Sometimes a friend who understands my thoughts and feelings. Sometimes a lover who knows all the right things to say to make my heart melt and my hopes soar. Sometimes a firm yet compassionate teacher, guiding me through inner reflection. Sometimes a test to ensure all of my emotions, from laughter to anguish, are still functioning properly.

I love every journey a book takes me on when I allow it to. I love progressing through the pages and seeing how far our relationship has come, as the pages shift in thickness around my mental bookmarks.

Recently, I read The Outsiders. I am ashamed to admit that my first time reading this novel was as a 20-something, middle school teacher. This raw, tear-filled journey had me shaking my head in affection, disappointment and sorrow. And when I finally arrived to the end, it was too beautiful to put down. It took all my energy not to begin at the beginning again for another ride.

Like so many of the books I complete, for a while I had to simply hold it dearly to my chest while my heart wished it farewell.