For as long as I can remember books have been my favorite means of escape. Probably because I didn't have a "happy" childhood. It wasn't awful, just not great. Mostly I remember feeling scared, worried, and inadequate. No wonder I jumped into books like a pig into shite. They let me go somewhere else, for long periods of time. I used to love to lay in front of the fire, reading until my parents forced me to go to bed. Narnia was one of my first real escapes; I still remember vividly looking out to the sea from the deck of the Dawn Treader and Edmund's terrible transformation. Middle Earth came next with dwarves and treasure and a dragon at the end. And then LOTR. I got it for Christmas, 1974, I think. I spent the better part of that holiday with those books. I'd be sitting at the long table in the kitchen, reading, while 6 other kids scrabbled and played around me and I never heard them. I was somewhere else.
Even through high school I never lost my love for reading, tho admittedly I used other means of escape. Some of these books I still have, like The Chronicles of Narnia (sadly I do not have the original paperbacks with the classy illustrated cover), The Hobbit, and LOTR. Others have joined these old friends, and everywhere you look in my house you will see them, in bookcases, on shelves, atop bureaus. Because it isn't just fiction anymore, there's books on all kinds of things, like history, dictionaries (I admit I have more than one), foreign language dictionaries (Spanish, French, Arabic), books with maps, books about ships, two bibles, Reader's Digest North American Wildlife (very helpful if you want to know what kind of nature occurs in what kind of climate), books about writing, fashion, historical cities (London and Boston). With all these places to escape to why would I ever want to leave home?