We are not alone.

by Todd Foley

Why do you read? You can answer that later.

I read stories (or watch movies) because they let me escape. Ironically, this escape allows me to connect.

I get the amazing experience of bonding with a character – with a person. This character may remind me of myself to the point where I can imagine joking with them, sharing my own experiences and even confiding in them. Maybe they remind me of my best friend. Maybe I even want them to be my best friend.

Other times, the character may be completely different – someone with whom I never would care to connect, let alone engage in conversation. These characters, though, introduce me to a world so different from my own. I think of characters like the lead lady in Madame Bovary. Abigail Williams in The Crucible. Draco Malfoy in Harry Potter. Cato in The Hunger Games. Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs. I could go on.

I’m drawn to these latter characters because they allow me to see the world through their eyes. Despite our differences, they’re human. I realize that we’re one in the same. That we’re meant to live co-exist in community. That I am not alone.

My first book signing event is coming up in less than two weeks, and I decided to make some bookmarks to hand out as a “thank you” [pictured above]. More than a bookmark, I wanted to pass along the message that we are anything but alone in this world. That’s something in which I can take heart. We all can.

Why do you read? What literary character has impacted your life? How?