I have many old books for friends. They are soft, and worn, and smell of leather and the oils from my hands. When I slip into them, I become anyone, can go anyplace and they lift me up and hold me.
In turn, I take care of their covers and pages, keeping them at rest and out of harm’s way.
If I turn their pages caressingly, or if I feel like dashing through a chapter, they never fall behind, but they laugh and play with me along the way. When I curl up in my alone place and read them slowly, with understanding, they wrap me in a river of imagination and make my feelings burn.
Most importantly, I know that if I am frightened, or harmed by something they hold, I can be calmed and soothed by the next page; or if I rip a page, in my haste to get on with the story, I can take whatever time is needed to repair it, so that it is only a reminder of my enjoyment.
Once they have been read, my mind does not simply put these books back on their shelves. They stay with me forever, welcome or not, and continue to influence my perspective.