His expression made me think of old-timey illustrations of god: severely paternal, bestowing the kind of love that weighs and measures before it find you worthy.
It isn’t pain or suffering that unmakes a person; it’s only time.
There's only one way to run away from your own story, and that's to sneak into someone else's. I unwedged the leatherbound book from beneath my mattress and breathed in the ink-and-adventure smell of it. I walked through it into another world.
I felt like a woman reading a mystery novel with every fourth line missing. There's really only one thing a person can do when they're hip-deep in a mystery novel: keep reading.
My father—who is a true scholar and not just a young lady with an ink pen and a series of things she has to say—puts it much better: “If we address stories as archaeological sites, and dust through their layers with meticulous care, we find at some level there is always a doorway. A dividing point between here and there, us and them, mundane and magical. It is at the moments when the doors open, when things flow between the worlds, that stories happen.
God save me from the yearners. The insatiable, the inconsolable, the ones who chafe and claw against the edges of the world. No book can save them. (That’s a lie. There are Books potent enough to save any mortal soul: books of witchery, augury, alchemy; books with wand-wood in their spines and moon-dust on their pages; books older than stones and wily as dragons. We give people the books they need most, except when we don’t.)
Those of you who are more than casually familiar with books -- those of you who spend your free afternoons in fusty bookshops, who offer furtive, kindly strokes along the spines of familiar titles -- understand that page riffling is an essential element in the process of introducing oneself to a new book. It isn't about reading the words; it's about reading the smell, which wafts from the pages in a cloud of dust and wood pulp. It might smell expensive and well bound, or it might smell of tissue-thin paper and blurred two-colour prints, or of fifty years unread in the home of a tobacco-smoking old man. Books can smell of cheap thrills or painstaking scholarship, or literary weight or unsolved mysteries.
How fitting, that the most terrifying time in my life should require me to do what I do best: escape into a book.