“Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.”– Lemony Snicket, Horseradish
It was a normal day in fifth grade. My entire class was lining up to go to lunch. My teacher Jeremy was counting heads until he got to the space in line that my small body usually occupied— I was missing. The class turned their heads to see my blonde haired head hunched over a worn ‘Series of Unfortunate Events’ book, still seated in the back of the classroom. They called my name:
They continued, raising their voices, and yet, I didn’t hear them. It wasn’t until Danny, one of the boys who sat at my table, came over and tapped me on the shoulder that I looked up. I was mortified. My entire class was staring at me, cracking up. It was like a nightmare, or waking up from oral surgery post-amnesia. I had literally no idea what had happened.
I shuffled to the cafeteria along with the 30 other students with red-tinged cheeks and my face to the floor. But then one of my peers grabbed my elbow and asked me tentatively what book it was I had been reading. And I realized being submerged like that wasn’t embarrassing at all, it was a skill.
This was the kind of ‘lost’ books had always let me become. I could legitimately escape my reality anytime I flipped my favorite pages. And I relished that more than any chocolate sundae, friendship even sleep.
Now, at 21, I find that my bookish curiosity translates into how I carry out my relationships. I’m not saying that I’m the ideal person to fall in love with— that would be incredibly narcissistic and not at all like me.
What I am saying is that, I’ve learned a lot about relationships and love through the books that I’ve read.
“100 Years Of Solitude” by Gabriél García Marquez taught me about loneliness, yellow butterflies and selfishness.
“The World According To Garp” by John Irving showed me how a twisted writer/son can love.
“Americanah” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie unveiled how love transpires across racial and geographical lines.
“This Is How You Lose Her” by Junót Diaz revealed how a sensitive man can be imperfect in love.
And many, many more.
A woman (or any person for that matter) who craves words and the turning of pages, is someone who wants a lot out of life. Women who read know that we are all capable of attaining multitudes of realities— of living thousands of lives. They will not settle for anything or anyone that doesn’t live up to the worlds created by their favorite authors.
Now with my Instagram account, twitter, snapchat, my phone constantly vibrating with “miss you’s” and “what’s up?” and “what should we do tonight,” I haven’t found myself able to shut my mind off through reading in the same way I could in the fifth grade.
But I have experienced many fulfilling friendships with family, friends and boyfriends in part, because I didn’t have to just be me, but I could channel all of the characters I had ever fallen for in novels. Women who read are truer assholes, bitches, fighters, daughters, sisters, aunts, comedians, professionals, friends and lovers. Go for one of these girls, they’ll make your plot line more complex.