I'd say we all find friends in books, but I honestly can't say if it's universal. Nonetheless, I find that many people I know find friends in books. Most of the attachments I make are to characters that are frozen in time, however - either due to the death of their authors, or simply the fact that, like coffeeem's Orient, their authors no longer write them.
But I love Geordie Riddell, fiercely love him, and today there is more Geordie; today I get to catch up with him, see what he's been up to. It's like bumping into an old beloved friend in a coffeehouse unexpectedly - the smile when you see them, the warmth that spreads through you as you say their name in just that way right before you give them a five-minute hug.
Here is my old friend, with new stories. :)