Books – this one word can initiate animated conversations, make friends of strangers and open your mind to a whole new world.
The “3 AM Friend”
We often speak of 3 AM friends, but ask any insomniac, or if you have been through periods of intense turmoil, unless you know people in another country whose time zone permits you to talk to them. Or are in a relationship and can lean on it, or have a devoted friend, the only real friend who can come to your rescue at 3am, yes you guessed it, is a book. And no it doesn’t always have to a boring one, but at that hour, an inspiring book can offer you a perspective, a thriller can divert your mind, and eventually even put you to sleep, even if the murderer is a page turn away.
I have been a voracious reader most of my life, exposed to fiction and non-fiction, classics and potboilers, thanks to a home full of readers and writers. I can definitely vouch that reading great literature and books is a source of spiritual sustenance, as well as self development, and if you get addicted to it in your youth, it becomes a lifetime affair.
Books are like those friends that stay with you in good times and bad. When the realities of life seem to overwhelm, nothing like a good book to help you escape to another world. If you love classics, then a Jane Eyre, an all-time favourite, can help you feel better. Simply reading about people, even fictional, fighting bigger battles than your own could inspire and help you move on from your own situation. I sometimes get overawed by the finer minds who seem to have observed life so keenly and then shared it so engagingly.
A Book for Every Season
Books are also a window to another world and different lives. The sheer number and genre of books that hit the market every year, give a glimpse of the genius and imagination of writers throughout the world. In fact there seems to be a book for every reason and season. No matter what kind of a reader you are, there will be a book for you; not just a book but a whole genre just for you to explore. A travelogue, helps you travel to new places, or if you are in the mood of a nice horror story on a chilly winter evening, after a long day at work, with a steaming cup of coffee, it is there waiting for you. And all those nights when you end up staying late and then rushing madly for work, just because you simply could not lay down your latest novel: these are what memories are made of.
On a Lighter Note
On a lighter note, a book is the only friend that is always available and comes in handy to kill time, when waiting for someone to appear at a restaurant, or when travelling to work in a Metro.
No matter how many books may line up one’s shelf, the bookstore on train stations and airports are like a Mecca: a must visit, whether there is space back home or not.
With the advent of e-books, the heart-breaking decision of which books to carry and what to leave behind has also being resolved.
A binding glue
If you are excited to share how a book really moved you or have an opinion on a title, then sites like Goodreads and Amazon give a platform where you see people across geographic boundaries locked in a passionate discussion on the meaning of a book like which version of ‘Life of Pi’ did you think was true! or simply sharing and recommending the best reads to one another.
The power of the written word is well known, books can help understand life’s complexities, when nothing seems to make sense; books can inspire, move us to tears, make us reflect and can even open our minds eye to worlds that did not exist before. Yes, I love my books. A friend, a lover, a guide – books can mean so much, and more to ones who truly love to read.