More akin to wanderers and creators than to gluttons and addicts, readers lead a nomadic existence that requires mental agility and the capacity to pursue leads and follow trails. Not all hunters return from those literary travels with their creative instincts sharpened, but they all bring back some kind of quarry, souvenirs of those lures that kept them hot on the trail. They preserve those souvenirs as precious talismans that are memorized, burnished, and preserved until they become their own. As they appropriate and internalize words, readers use those same words to construct their identities, changing them in ways so subtle that they often escape conscious attention. … Souvenirs of reading function in much the same manner as psychologist D. W. Winnicott’s transitional objects, bridging the realm of fantasy with the ordinary world, providing something to hold onto when readers return to sober reality after the thrill of adventures in story worlds. … Just as our hands once needed those concrete physical objects in childhood, so too so our minds seize on images and words from stories to help us make our way in the world. (Maria Tatar, Enchanted Hunters 90-91)
I don’t think I’ll ever get around to reviewing this book, I’ll just keep quoting its marvellous passages.