Hi. My name is Danielle, and I am a Reader.

I am a Reader.

Trinity College Library - Staircase
© Danielle Bouwman 2015

It’s not just about loving the look of books on a shelf or casually reading in a comfy chair on a rainy day. Being a capital “R” reader is actually part of who I am as a person and deeply affects the way I process things and live my life. I know I’m not the only one. In fact, there’s a whole community of us on the Reader spectrum who rely on books as a way of life and fulfillment.

There are so many moments over the past 20 plus years that I can look back on and exclaim, “Yes! That moment right there completely changed me, and it’s all because of a few words, sentences, pages that I was reading.” There are also many times in my life that I’ve used books as an escape from the overwhelming and unbearable realities of my daily life. I used them as a crutch, an explanation, a source of hope, a second opinion, and many times even a validation of my own feelings. In a way books gave me permission to feel the complexities storming around in my mind.

With all of the uncertainty and anxiety I’ve been trying to deal with these last few weeks (or sometimes years depending on the particular anxiety), I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that books have quite possibly saved my life and my sanity. At the time I often don’t realize that’s what is happening. I all of a sudden have this realization that I have been knocking out two or three books a week at a minimum and haven’t turned on the television for days — for those of you who know me, television is also a huge passion of mine. Not watching my shows is HUGE indicator of my mood!

I could talk about books for days. I could wax poetic about how certain lines in particular books actually give me the chills. I could sing the highest praises of author Jeaniene Frost for creating my favorite literary heroine – Cat Crawfield Russell – and taught me that you don’t have to be perfect to save the day. I could explain in extensive detail that books have shown me that the world is not always as dire as it appears.

But I won’t (anymore than I already have). Because the Readers know; they just do. It’s probably written in our DNA – a silent, but implicit understanding of why other Readers hold onto words as tightly as we do.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is this – thank you, books and the authors who create them. You have might not any idea what the words you write have the magic to do, but I assure you that they are just that – complete and inspirational magic.

Gratefully yours,
A devoted Reader

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