I read because I learned, as a child, there were places to hide inside books. Reading time was the only time I remember being held. Reading was something my mother used to escape being my mother, so I read to escape her neglect. As I grew up, I read because food and books comforted me. During puberty, books showed me what it would be like to be desired, to feel passion. Reading as I walked to and from school let me ignore the bully screaming into my ear, frustrated because he couldn’t reach me in my book. I read because reading gave me a vocabulary that fooled the standardized, scoring me worthy of scholarships. I read because it’s a habit I learned very young that has saved my life over and over again.

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