Mother used to say escape is never further than the nearest book. Well, Mumsy, no, not really. Your beloved large-print sagas of rags, riches and heartbreak were no camouflage against the miseries trained on you by the tennis-ball launcher of life, were they? But, yes, Mum, there again, you have a point. Books don't offer real escape but they can stop a mind scratching itself raw.
— from Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell.