'Reading in old age is doing for me what it has always done - it frees me from the closet of my own mind. Reading fiction, I see through the prism of another person's understanding; reading everything else, I am travelling - I am travelling in the way that I still can: new sights, new experiences. I am reminded sometimes of the intensity of childhood reading, that absolute absorption when the very ability to read was a heady new gain, the gateway to a different place, to a parallel universe you hadn't known was there. The one entirely benign mind-altering drug. Except of course for those who ban or burn books, in which benign doesn't come into it, but the power of books is all the more acknowledged.
So I have my drug, perfectly legal and I don't need a prescription.'
Penelope Lively, Ammonites and Leaping Fish, p.36.