Books have always been a part of my life. My mother and her sisters were all readers, both grandmothers, too, and they all read to me.
Like a few others have mentioned, books became a way to escape. They showed me there was a world outside the small town boundaries, that there was a life for me somewhere if I could hold on long enough. The library itself really was a sanctuary because the bullies wouldn't follow me inside.
I barely survived with them, I wouldn't have without them.