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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCD chapter.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been an avid reader.  Paper and ink have captivated me, enthralled me, and whisked me away into fantastical worlds of adventure, romance, and intrigue.  My personality is built upon all the characters I’ve been inspired and influenced by, and their journeys have shaped me into who I am today.  This is my love letter to all books have taught me, and a letter I’m hoping my fellow readers will relate to. 

Reading is the perfect kind of escapism. You pick a genre, find a plot that interests you, open it up, and boom! a whole new world unravels in front of you.  In a split second, you can be transported into a dystopian world with high stakes, a fantasy land whose hero is on a quest for justice and self-exploration, or a contemporary world where you can fall in love alongside the two protagonists. The opportunities are limitless.  Reading allows me to live hundreds of lives and experiences beyond my imagination.  

Growing up, protagonists in my favorite novels were my role models. They taught me to be brave, resilient, and a total badass. They were filled with core principles like determination, loyalty, compassion, and ambition. Characters accomplished amazing feats, created wonderful communities, and showed me the kind of person I wanted to become.

When I read, I become part of the story. When characters laugh, I laugh alongside them. When they feel betrayed, I feel as though I am sharing in their pain.  When they triumph, I am overcome with a sense of accomplishment and excitement. And most important of all, when they bond, when they love, I feel as though I am capable and worthy of loving too.  

Literature has shown me the limitless possibilities of humanity. Literature has brought me comfort, joy, excitement, and inspiration when I needed it most.

Some books are for comfort (The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan is my go-to childhood comfort series). Every time I re-read, I’m able to see things with a fresh perspective and notice details and depths I wasn’t capable of understanding before.  

Barnes and Noble is my sanctuary.  (I exclusively buy my books, much to the dismay of my bank account). I easily spend hours browsing and end up leaving with more books than I can carry.  Once, they had to package my books in a cardboard box (it was a 50% off sale, so I might’ve gone a bit overboard).  

Books also mark critical points in my life.  For example, the most prominent book I remember from my early childhood is The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.  Followed by the Percy Jackson and the Olympian series by Rick Riordan, and now my personal library has grown so vast that I could spend years recounting my favorite books (it’s impossible to choose just one). 

I don’t have as much free time to devote to reading as I used to.  But that just makes those times all the more valuable. I read for enjoyment, for growth, and for the ability to travel to a multitude of different worlds simply through words on a page. Thank you for creating a community where I’ve found friends to gossip with about our latest book boyfriends or conspiracy theories on the upcoming sequels, and thank you for creating worlds where I can live a thousand different lives all from nestled within my blankets. This is a love letter to reading, and to all the books that have captivated me, enthralled me, and whisked me away into fantasy.

Alexa is a second year English major at UCD. In her free time, she loves baking, making Spotify playlists for her latest reads, and laughing with friends. She’s super excited to be part of HC this year!