“Books are good company, in sad times and happy times, for books are people – people who have managed to stay alive by hiding between the covers of a book.” – E.B. White
It may come as no surprise, especially if you’ve been around my blog a while, I like books. A lot. A lot a lot.
I like books so much that many of my life choices have been based around them. I studied English Lit. and History in University for the books and reading. My life goal is to become a published author.
Even if I don’t actively read a book on any given day, there is a good chance that I’ve thought about or passively looked at a book. In the last couple days, I had a conversation with my dad about how I dreamed of expanding the bookshelves in my bedroom to accommodate a bigger library. The dream was dampened by my desire to have wall space for artwork, but the desire to have a big library is alive and well!
Right now, books are a life raft in the sea of chaos that is the world right now. They provide a much needed escape from reality as well as a chance to learn and grow with all the new-found free time.
But my love affair with books began long before this crisis and even before university. There were always books in my house growing up and I remember being read Goodnight Moon before bed. In fact, I was read to sleep well into my childhood. That comes from having two delightfully nerdy parents.
As a kid growing up from the late 90s-mid 2000s, I was in the midst of the Harry Potter bonanza. While I never did a midnight release party, I was an avid reader of all of Harry’s adventures. I’m fairly positive I would’ve continued to be a reader without the Harry Potter books, but they certainly solidified my bookish existence.
Books have always been an escape for me. I’ve always had an active imagination and a sensitive, high-strung spirit. So the hum-drum of life, especially as a somewhat sheltered child, seemed somewhat unsatisfactory. Where were the adventures? Where were the extraordinary people? Where was the magic? In books.
The fact that magic (the Harry Potter, bibitibopityboop kind) was created in someone else’s imagination and actually wasn’t real left my little soul so disappointed. But growing up has dampened that disappointment some, though I never get tired of escaping into books for a good dose of magic.
And I’ve found there’s magic in real life… if you know where to find it.
Anyway, I was a fairly quiet teenager with a small circle of friends, so books remained a constant even as I drifted away from childhood interests. Vampires were the craze during my high school years⎯thanks, Twilight⎯and I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that I ONLY read books about vampires for a while. But, reading Twilight as a shy twelve-year-old continued to reinforce my literary habits. And I’m not the only one who’ll admit that there was something weirdly addicting about those books.
English had always been my best subject, because⎯you know⎯reading, so it seemed like a natural choice to go to university for English. Though, at this point I had also decided I wanted to be a writer and English seemed like a good way of building up my skills in that respect as well. With a double major in English Literature and History, I was set for 4 years of reading and books.
More so now that I’m out of school, I’ve realized that books are so much more than simply and escape. Without the structure and resources of school, books are the next best learning tools.
In the last couple years I’ve discovered how much I want to learn and grow as a person. It sometimes makes me regret not continuing on to a Master’s program or beyond, but then I remind myself that the world is full of easily accessible and sometimes completely free ways of learning: books.
Isn’t that wild?
The only flaw I have is that I’m too excited to read things and I always end up reading 5+ books at a time, which leads to me only finishing books after months of reading. While I’ll never be someone who can read 100 books in a year, I do enjoy seeing how many I can get read. This year, I’m aiming for 35.
Books make up such a large portion of my life as a writer and someone who simply enjoys reading, I even have a dream of one day opening a used bookstore. Despite Amazon taking over and killing all the independent bookstores, I truly believe that there will always be a place for bookstores. People will always need books and people to sell them. Faceless corporations can only do so much. But I will not turn this into a rant about my hot/cold relationship with Amazon.
I could probably write a whole small book one why I think books are amazing and why the written word is so important, but I’ll suffice with this little blog post.
Do me a favour today: pick up a book, even for five minutes. And next time you need to purchase one, consider an independent bookstore (or at least an online bookseller that’s NOT Amazon).
If you’d like to see what I’ve been reading so far this year, my list is on Goodreads.
Each month, I also post a list of the books I’m reading at that moment: January, February, March, April, May.