When I was a child, we used to do this thing called “taking a Sunday drive”. I remember riding in the back seat, looking out the car windows and into the windows of houses we’d pass by. I would wonder about the people in the houses – who were they, what kind of lives did they lead, where did they go when they weren’t home. And if I saw the people through the windows, I’d wonder if they saw us. Driving was kind of invisible – like the lives inside the windows of the houses. Now, I’m all grown up and guess what – I still wonder about those houses and the people in them. We don’t do the “Sunday drive” any more – it’s more the “get there and back as quick as you can” thing. Unless we’re going to the beach. Then I enjoy the drive.
But here’s the analogy between books and windows. Windows keep me guessing. Books give me knowledge. I actually get to know the people in the “book windows” – their names, their families, their lives. Sometimes with serials, I’m permitted a longer perusal – I get a little more involved, like hearing their thoughts and seeing the consequences of their actions and their reactions to the same. It happens whether the characters want it or not. Books are my windows into the lives of strangers – safer and much more informative.