I went to fifth hour like I always do, but things were just a little different. There's a guy who sits behind me, spindly, intelligent, too young to be in high school and a little nerdy, the kind of person that you knew or made fun of or were in high school. Two jocks were accosting him, per usual, and per usual it bothered me. Today, however, they were being more than oafish and spiteful, they were being ignorant too. One says, "So, do you read a lot of books, Carl?" in a mocking, almost sing song tone that makes you immeadiately aware that not only are they being rude, they are being down right cruel. It also illustrates their total lack of wit or originality, and as I stood there I felt their words flow over me. I saw it, as it was, blunt and wrong like a monolith to idiocy. I remained absolutey stone calm, having not yet garnered their attention. I was everything but out of the ordinary. I waited, hoping that the persecuted teenager would stand up for himself. He didn't, and I couldn't take it any more. Not breaking stride, not breaking the moment I say, "How many books have you read? You should try a few, they make you smarter, and then maybe you won't say things like you just did." And those two football players looked at me like I was holding my own severed head. They didn't say anything, they went away.

The moral? If there's one, there are a few. Don't be stupid or ignorant because someone will, eventually, call you on it and you'll have nothing to say. Those of people you know who aren't popular or attractive do still matter. And finally, books are good, read as many as you can, because then you'll know its not intelligent to insult someone for the amount of literature and original thought they have absorbed.

Reading, next to exercise, is one of the best things you can do to yourself. Physical exercise will train your muscles. Reading will help your brain develop in early stages of life. Reading helps you learn languages and extend your general lingual knowledge. Heck, reading extends your knowledge in everything! Even reading fiction will make you more eloquent. Reading non-fiction will increase your factual knowledge. If you ever have children, the first thing they should learn after they learn to speak is learn to read.

Spread wide — a familiar, teasing resistance, then open, revealed, for me, just for me.

Licking lips in anticipation, nimble fingers caress delicate edges. Burying my face, eagerly, devouring, all night long. My brow furrows in concentration — a comical mask for such a pleasurable chore. On the couch, or on the floor (by a roaring fire), or the kitchen table, or buried, cozy, under the blankets.

Predictable peaks mixed with unexpected surprises. Tension built — and resolved — over and over, higher and higher. I can’t get enough, keep thinking, “here’s a good place to stop,” but no, just one more, just a little longer. If it’s really good, I know I’ll wake up in the morning and dive back in, picking up right where I left off.

I lose all track of time, forget where I am, who I am. Transported, entranced, whole new worlds exposed to me. Nothing else matters, only what comes next, what comes next...

Yes, there’s nothing like a good book.

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