To Read Is to Fly

“To read is to fly: it is to soar to a point of vantage which gives a view over wide terrains of history, human variety, ideas, shared experience and the fruits of many inquiries.” 
― Alberto Manguel

 

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Among Others - Jo Walton "If you love books enough, books will love you back."

I found this book, written in the form of a diary, to be a lovely, nostalgic read. Mori is an endearing protagonist who is struggling to find a place for herself after a tragic magical battle left her twin sister dead and her estranged from her mother. As Mori struggles to maintain her identity at a snobbish boarding school, she turns to books for comfort. Although I know that some readers found her frequent references to SF and fantasy works off-putting, I loved Walton's ability to capture all the ways that much-beloved books speak to truths more real than any held by the superficial material world. (It is, of course, possible that I am projecting here - Mori's relationship to books reminds me of mine, especially when young.)

I don't want to give any spoilers, so I will make this brief. Walton's book speaks to an adolescent's search for a deep connection with others, be they family members or true friends who ask the same questions of books and life. Mori struggles with many uncertainties about why others might like her - she worries about the ethics of using magic to find friends, as she fears the hollowness of a forced connection. Among Others captures Mori's progress to adulthood, with all the uncertainties she faces along the way. Throughout, she emerges as a courageous heroine who holds true to herself and her values, even when facing peer pressure, physical pain, emotional insecurity, and even magical battles with her mother.

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