As the day after we seniors get out of our last classes of high school, June sixth, 2008, will probably find most of the senior class partying, vacationing, or simply sleeping the entire day away. June sixth will most likely find me in the bowels of Barnes and Noble. My annual trip to the bookstore following the close of school is the beginning of the somewhat ritualistic tradition: a tradition that ends with me spending the better part of the next week closeted in my bedroom–with a stack of at least ten new novels. The whole experience is one that I anticipate greatly as the end of each school year approaches. I can’t wait to stroll down the brightly colored aisles, my fingers itching to snatch every brightly colored tome off the shelf. I can’t wait to find the right one–to crack it open and catch a whiff of the fresh ink and newly pressed paper. I can’t wait to settle into my comforter at home, turn on the bedside lamp, and bury myself in my books, because I believe in losing myself in a story. Perhaps I should rephrase. I believe in the power of a story. It would have been impossible for me to read a novel like Wuthering Heights, a novel wrought with so much passion, and remain unchanged. It was equally challenging to for me to extract myself from The Other Boleyn Girl after getting lost in the maze of Tudor politics that set the social climate of the time. Battle Royale had me looking around corners for a week, convinced that government agents were about to kidnap me and export me to some experimental, psychologically crippling game. Even some of the fluffiest of “Chick-Lit”, the most contrived Japanese Science-Fiction, and the most melodramatic novels of the Teen Angst genre have captured my interest, and held it. Each of these stories has shown me a unique perspective, either the author’s, or some combination of the writer’s and my own. Each has let me see through someone else’s eyes and live someone else’s life, if only for a few short hours. Each has had the capacity to let me connect with (rather than just escape from) the world and perhaps even the human condition. Therein lies the power of a story. So don’t come looking for me June sixth… or seventh… or eighth. I’ll be in bed, flanked by a wall of books, devouring story after story until my head can’t possibly hold any more.
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