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Books As Portals, by Brian Jewell

This post is part of 805's “My Home Library” series that features writers and artists enjoying their home libraries during the pandemic and beyond.

Books can be many things to many people and can take on many forms, both metaphorically and quite literally. They come in hardbacks and paperbacks, they even come in an audio format for those who prefer to multi-task. They are more than just books, as books can be transformed into many things such as friends and mentors. Some of my books even serve as my financial advisors. Tony Robbins’ Money Master The Game and Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Make Over have taught me a little about how to handle what I put in and take out of my wallet. But most of all, books are portals.

A portal, as I understand the meaning of the word, is something that transports us into another dimension where things are not quite the same as the real world in which we live. Things can be slightly or dramatically different. We can be transported into the past through biographies (I highly recommend any biography written by Walter Isaacson) or into the future through science fiction. Isaac Asimov, L. Ron Hubbard, and Harlan Ellison take us to other worlds. Sometimes other galaxies entirely.

When we are stuck in bed ill or can’t leave the house for whatever reason, books provide escape and adventure. I was delighted to travel to The Ocean at the End of the Lane, visit with Coraline, and eventually end up in Neverwhere with Neil Gaiman. While I’ve never met Neil Gaiman, I do consider him a friend. His stories comfort and entertain me more than most. My wife doesn’t approve of comic books. Sandman is the exception since the stories were written by Neil Gaiman. She also happens to be a big fan of the artwork.

Lost in the pages of old literature or modern stories, I forget about the events right outside my front door or the bad day at work. They no longer matter. At least, not in the moment. Time and space become irrelevant. It’s what happens next in the story that deserves my full attention. Curling up in bed with a good book can provide that same feeling as curling up in front of the fire place with the one you love; the rest of the world fades away.


Brian William Jewell is a writer and poet from Baltimore, Maryland. His interests include martial arts and has published a book titled, "The Wisdom if Wing Chun." In his spare time he likes to read...a lot.


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