“A book is a dream that you hold in your hands.” — Neil Gaiman
I was born with a love of reading. When my mom would take me and my brother to the store as children, my brother always wanted a toy and I always wanted a book. Growing up in this small town, books were my escape — my gateway to adventure and fantasy beyond my wildest dreams … or maybe not so beyond!
This is somewhat embarrassing to admit, but when the movie “Interview with the Vampire” was released in theaters, I loved it so much I saw it seven times during its run. Wanting more of the story and characters, I read the novel by Anne Rice that the movie was based on. The way she described New Orleans — as a city that had a life of its own, that lived and breathed, with music, spirits, mystery and unimaginable possibilities — I had to experience it for myself.
And so my aunt and I planned a weeklong trip to New Orleans. The Crescent City was everything I’d imagined it would be and more; so much so that I returned to North Carolina only to pack my bags and head straight back to New Orleans to live. Well, my dad was having none of it, but I did move to New Orleans two years later. I was 22 years old and it was my first time living on my own, 800 miles from home.
I loved it.. New Orleans sunk its claws into me, and it sunk them in deep. I felt, and still feel, it is where I ultimately belong. I met Anne Rice at book signings, attended her mock jazz funeral, and met her one-on-one when she was coming out of her home on First Street. A dream I could once only have imagined had fully come to life, and it all started with a book.
Since then, I’ve lived in Philadelphia, on Long Island, N.Y., in Sydney, Australia, and in Ottawa, Canada. I’ve walked along Times Square in New York City and Trafalgar Square in London. And though now I’ve returned to my hometown of Lumberton, I still can find adventure at the turn of a page.
Books have shown me that anything is possible. That if you can dream it, you can do it. That we only get one life, so take it by the horns and live it. Come to the library and check out a book or two. What adventure could possibly await you?
Amanda Mili is a circulation assistant at Robeson County Public Library. She can be reached at 910-738-4859.