Dear world of books and authors,

Thank you for always being there for me. Whenever I felt stressed from school, or simply needed to be entertained, you were the one friend I always turned to. No matter who the author was, all I had to do was open a book to its first page to feel your comforting presence.

With you, I have traveled across continents and through time. From fighting in an epic war between the Greeks and the Trojans, to revisiting the 1900’s with Jane Austen, to dancing in the Jazz era with Jay Gatsby, I have lived through countless  eras with timeless characters.

With you, horror and mystery terrorize unfortunate characters at every page. I dared to stay at the haunted Overlook Hotel with Jack Torrance and his family and survived to see strangers killed off one by one by a mysterious murderer, until there were none. I attended prom with Carrie the night she sought revenge against her bullies.

With you, I have cast spells with the swish of my wand and watched a boy with a lightning scar grow up to learn the tragedy of loss, the love of friendship and the triumph of good over evil. At Hogwarts, I learned that the greatest magic does not come from the most powerful spell but from within each person, keeping them alive.

With you, I explored the complicated thoughts and emotions of many characters. I investigated the strange case of a man juggling two opposing personalities; sympathized with Ponyboy as he struggled with the social war between the rich kids and the poor kids; studied spirituality as I found myself stranded on a lifeboat with a boy and a tiger; battled depression alongside Plath as she sought meaning in her life; walked through the streets of New York City with Holden as he coped with feelings of alienation and not wanting to grow up.

With you, I sought justice for those whose voices that were ignored or silenced. I stood in the town square as a small Puritan community shamed a mother for having a child out of wedlock. I sat in the courtroom as Atticus Finch defended a man from racism, when no one else was willing to. I stayed inside a mental ward and watched a man stand up to a tyrannical nurse, showing other patients what life could be like outside of those dreary hospital walls.

With you, I witnessed societies ruled by oppression. Whether the year is 1984 or in the near future, I journeyed with various characters as they fought for freedom of individuality. Despite all its flaws, I’m grateful for the world I live in now — a world where I don’t have to participate in a series of games with my life on the line; a world that doesn’t trade feelings of loss and love for a false imitation of perfection and harmony.

You and I, we’ve lived several lifetimes together. While still young and inexperienced, I already have a grasp on what makes the world work and some understanding of the people that I share it with.

Thank you again for the past adventures, for the current journeys, and for the future endeavors I will experience with you in this too-short-a-life.

Your Friend,

A Reader