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Friday, July 15, 2016

Not of This World

By Kelly Bridgewater

Ever had that experience where you open a book and the real world just disappears?

I have.

As an avid reader, there our a number of books that have captured my attention and allowed me to escape the chaotic world and disappear to somewhere else.

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The first book that did that for me was The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. As a little girl, I wanted to find a key to a secret garden and disappear for hours where no one would see the beauty that I saw. I re-read that book over and over as  little girl.

Next, the Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis. I loved how he captured the child-like quality of wanting to escape the boring realities of this world and into something better. The characters of Lucy and Edmund become very important in Narnia, but in our world, they were just in the way, either for their parents or their cousin's house. I don't blame them for wanting to go away.

I enjoyed becoming part of Sweet Valley, California in Francine Pascal's widely popular Sweet Valley High series. I have read every single one of those books and couldn't wait to grow up and become a teenager. I found that I mirrored Elizabeth, but I wanted to be Jessica who was popular and got in all kinds of trouble.

As an adult, I read the Harry Potter series. Still in awe of how great a writer J. K. Rowling is. She took a child story and made it something that even adults wanted to loose themselves in for a couple of weeks. I know my boys couldn't wait to turn eleven and see it they would receive an invitation to Hogwarts. If only, I could jump into the story and join Harry, Ron, and Hermoine on their adventures.

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Why, do you believe, that reading creates such a personal experience between the reader and the characters?

Are we all looking for some pure enjoyment for us to escape our boring lives? Who wants to work 9 to 5 for forty plus years, then wait around in a nursing home to die, hopefully with some dignity?

I believe we read to experience more in our lives. George R. R. Martin in his widely popular book (Haven't read them yet!) A Dance with Dragons says, “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.”

Stories allow us to fall in love over and over again.

Stories allow us to go on an adventure to Middle Earth, Hogwarts, Narnia . . .

Stories allow us to be pirates who look for buried treasure.

Stories allow us to be a brave knight hunting for the Holy Grail.

Stories allow us to save a kingdom before it is utterly destroyed by injustice.

I believe stories are important for any person, no matter what genre you read.

Do you agree? What about stories allow you to leave this world and do things you normally wouldn't do?

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