There are some books that I can re-read over and over again. The Neverending Story by Michael Ende is one of them. Some of you (or most of you who knows) are aware that the 1980's film of the same name was based off of a book. I can say with absolute confidence and conviction that the book is superior in every way. The story is centered around a little boy named Bastian Balthazar Bux (one of the most fantastic names in literature) who is not your typical hero. He's chubby and spends the majority of his time buried in books. He has a strained relationship with his father and he is bullied at school. This character is real. He is tangible. I empathized with this character on a lot of levels. He comes upon a book (I'm definitely leaving a lot out here on purpose) titled The Neverending Story and from this moment on he is changed forever. This isn't a regular book. It's alive. The reader (us) is taken on a journey with the reader (Bastian). We are introduced to the land of Fantastica with characters that range from the Childlike Empress who is the ruler of the land to Atreyu who is on an epic quest. This might be one of the first books that caused me to weep with grief...or maybe it's just the first one that I remember. Whatever the case, I still cry every single time I read this book and I try to read it once a year. It's an adventure story that is layered with magic, friendship, and self-discovery. There's a reason why it's one of my favorite books of all time.