My Dearest Reading,

Oh, how I love you so. There are many things to love about you.

You are so complex. Whether it be magazines, novels, or dare I say textbooks, you never fail to teach me new things. You open doors to new worlds and allow me to gain information about the one I live in now.

Of course, you'd be nothing with your counterpart of books... but I think you make a stellar team.

With the two of you by my side, I am never alone. I can never get bored. You welcome me with open arms, allowing me to escape reality and fall into Hogwarts or Middle Earth, New York or Tokyo.

You allow me to get to know others and find new friends, no matter how fictional they are. I have even made real friends by bonding over our love of you.

You expand my vocabulary, allowing me to show off to others with words such as ennui and lassitude and pestilent. I'm sure those are technically words I should've learned for the SAT or something, but learning them via reading is a lot more fun... or excuse me, pleasant or enjoyable.

You allow me to feel joy when I am sad. You allow me to feel anger when I haven't been wronged. You've extended my bounds of empathy, allowing me to experience heartbreak, elation, and frustration all within an hour. You've given me an adrenaline rush while sitting still. You've allowed me to explore Paris without leaving my house.

While you provide me with outlets to explore new places and ideas, you also hold the keys to my safe home. Despite the vocabulary you give me, I have yet to find the words to explain the feeling of diving back into a favorite book. I experience my favorite scenes again and again, yet continue to discover new details that I missed previously.

Sometimes, when life gets busy, I find myself ignoring you. It really is a sad time for both of us. I don't feel like myself... and eventually, I find myself coming back to you. And when I do, you're there, waiting patiently for me to join you again.

I really don't understand how you put up with me sometimes. You tell me exactly what to picture in my head, saying, "Frank, with his shoulder-length, golden blonde hair and subtle brown eyes," and I betray you by imagining Frank as Jake Gyllenhaal. You explain that the forest has pine trees while I picture maple. I promise I don't mean to do it. My imagination is a little out of control... but to be honest, I blame it on you.

Without you, my imagination would have bounds, only knowing the things I can physically observe. But through flawless word choices and precise descriptions, I can now conceptualize things that I've never seen. I can take hold of a simple idea and make it my own. You've expanded my constraints of reality in a way that movies and other media simply can't.

Also, thank you so much for not taking my strong hatred of you until age 15 personally and allowing me to befriend you. I'm sorry I wasted so much time thinking you were boring and tedious... because now I know that you are the exact opposite.

I appreciate you so so much for everything that you are.

Love, Casey