I have been completely enthralled by fantasy since I could read. Throughout elementary school my obsession existed in Ben M. Baglio’s Animal Ark series. I distinctly remember only ever reading the novels featuring horses, though. From middle school and onward I dropped the children’s books and moved on to other, grander things. Obscure fantasy novels featuring knights and dragons and elves became my passion.
I was a quiet kid. I still am. As a preschooler I preferred to sit inside and create imaginary lives for my toy dinosaurs rather than go to the park or sneak onto my brother’s computer and take care of my virtual pets. My teachers always hailed me as quiet and well-behaved, but encouraged me to speak up more in class, because I put bright ideas down on paper. For as long as I can remember, my friends have been a tightly knit group of two or three or four. With them, I spoke in great volumes. With everyone else, not so much. We all knew this sort of kid. The one who did all their homework and sucked up to the teacher and read a lot and was probably obsessed with horses or something. That was me. And while I can no longer attest to doing all my homework or being obsessed with the equine race (though they do still have a special place in my heart), I am still notorious for having a book in my hand and my head in the clouds.
What sarahleelucas describes in her post, I have always strongly felt. While art and video games are both beloved passions, distractions, and escapes of mine, I find that nothing is quite as refreshing as a good book. When I watched ordinary teenage boys transform into brave, dangerous heroes throughout novels filled with magic and villains and despair, it no longer mattered that I was a mundane Canadian in a mundane school leading a perfectly comfortable but agonizingly mundane life. I was a young boy. I needed adventure. I needed crumbling kingdoms and ancient monsters and magical weapons to make up for what sarahleelucas described, very well, as the dull, inescapable cycle of everyday life.
Books do that. I am greatly saddened when I see the youth of this generation, so many of which look upon casual reading with disgust or contempt. Youth whose only knowledge of the world of literacy seems to stem from the books they are forced to read in English class. It saddens me that many of them will never give reading a second chance, that many may never find their favourite book to cry over, laugh at, or stay up until three in the morning for, just to get in that one last chapter, because oh god is what I think is going to happen really going to happen, is so-and-so going to die, and am I going to need to wipe my tears with this page?
Books are very much like windows. They may show you nice things: the pleasant sunshine of spring, pink and white flowers dappling the grass, excited dogs going on walks with their owners. They can also show you frightening things: thunderstorms, hurricanes. Sad things: melancholic winter mornings, car crashes. But the difference between books and windows is that, although what a window shows you is contained to the sorrowful confines of reality, books are limitless. Through a window, you can look as far as your eye can see. But through a book, you will see things you never could have imagined.