All my life, I’ve been known to love books. You can ask any friend or family member what I want for any celebration and the answer will always be “give her a book”. I’ve been talking about books for what feels like my whole life.
But when did it really start? When did I become so attached to these collections of pages that for some people are but a lifeless object? When did I hit the point of no return on this adventure with books?
I believe great things take time, but I am also of the opinion that there are moments in our lives that are so intense, so profound that you can pinpoint the exact moment when something inside you has changed, and perhaps that’s why I remember the first book I fell in love with.
Maybe it wasn’t my first book, but it was the first one that spoke to me so clearly that my soul was awakened.
So here’s a small list of what books have meant in my life, and (I’m quite sure) in any other bookworm’s life.
1. Books send us messages
By putting into words the feelings that we’re having, the authors send an important message: You are not alone in your feelings. They keep you company when you’re feeling misunderstood. They even keep you accompanied in during long waits and unbearable queues; I carry a book everywhere I go, even places I know I won’t be reading in.
I always have a book on my table because just knowing that I have a book with me is comforting.
2. Books teach us lessons
Because they are written by real people with real stories and that are living in the real world, the problems and the situations that books present are usually there to teach you something that isn’t immediately visible: a point of view.
Books can teach you to reconcile fiction with reality and to care about other people’s problems. Books teach us to live and to enjoy life as it is. And to appreciate ourselves for what we are.
3. They open us to a huge understanding community
I know this is going to be a huge cliché, but bookworms are often introverts or shy. By relating to imaginary people, one learns to relate to other people. On top of all this, they also give you access to the bookworm community: other people that understand the love for books.
They understand that the fact that you consider books almost family doesn’t mean you’re obsessed, because books are not just inanimate objects. The words spring to life from the page when your mind is engaged in a book.
4. They are the best of friends
Books were my first friends. I’ve never been one to share feelings (many people will joke I don’t have any), though I do crave to be seen and understood. Books are infinitely patient with me; I just needed to sit there and learn what they had to tell me. They do the talking, I do the listening.
They give me time to love the characters they presented, and when I’m ready they give me time to mourn their losses, to fall in love with them, to be angry at and for them. They give me time to care and process it. I don’t think I can put into words what books have given me, which is ironic because they give me all that with only words.
5. Books inspire us and make us believe in humanity
Whenever I need comfort or inspiration, I go to the bookshop and wander amongst the shelves, pondering all the possibilities, at all the human contemplation squeezed in there with so much to say. Humans like you and I, people that may or may not be from your own time, with different cultures and experiences. Books helped me believe in people again when I’ve lost faith in humanity.
6. Books teach us Empathy
Books were the ones to literally save my life and I don’t think I’m being too drastic with this statement; they made me a better person, a happier person, a wiser one. I believe one of the reasons my friends love me is because I understand, because I’m empathetic. I wish I could say that those qualities are all mine, but I’d be lying, because books did that for me.
I became empathetic because I was the characters in my books once, because they made me walk in the shoes of imaginary and not-so-imaginary people that I’m never going to be and, by that, they made me love and enjoy that there are as many different perspectives as there are people on Earth.
7. Books give us Identity
I think this is what really makes me a bookworm. Books have become such a large part of my psyche that they define me. I have been so many villains, so many heroes, girls and boys, magicians and muggles. I’ve been at war and in space.
I have lost family members that aren’t my own. Without the lessons and all the love they have given me, I wouldn’t be who I am.
So there you have only 7 of the reasons that make books so meaningful to bookworms (or to this bookworm at least)! I’m quite sure there are many more, and I’ll be coming back to write them eventually (I’d also love to hear about your reasons!), but whether you relate to them or not, the true meaning of this post is to tell you; you are not alone.
I understand and I too see the beauty of books.