There are books and then there are stories. A story lies within a book, fixed to the pages in small black ink that runs across the paper, beckoning you to follow their journey.
I suppose that is where the phrase “bookworm” comes from. You follow the story like a worm follows the raindrops: like the creature, you move slowly through a text, taking on the print from the page as they become more than words.
Something happens when you find the “one”. Fellow, book lovers will understand this. That one book you go back to. The one that inspired you. The one that calls you back, regardless of how many other books you have waiting in line to attempt to hook you. I always fall in love with those stories where you forget that you are reading words that someone else has written; instead, believing the story is actually happening right there in your mind. There have been books that I have spent solid periods of time, contemplating whether to race through because I cannot wait to know the outcome of the star-crossed lovers’ journeys or the fate of a soldier in the midst of war, but then also wondering whether to slow the reading sessions right down so the story lasts longer. I mostly opt for the latter. I savour each chapter and find myself working through the day , craving to open the book and pick up from where I left. Like a movie, the story is paused in my mind, but once your eyes begin to continue reading the words on the page, your subconscious presses the play button and off the images go.
Books are history in our hands.
A single book sits in a charity shop, hidden from the world with it’s fragile and brittle spines crying out for a place on someone’s bookshelf. Along comes me. We have books that contain history within the informative words, but books can BE history. Books are timeless and have been through time. Quite literally.
There is nothing more satisfying than finding a book that has been through the most monumental events of history, with endearing messages of love and congratulations written on the publication page. One of my books has “To George, Love Edward, Christmas 1897.” I find it incredible to know that the book I now own and hold in my hands, was once held by a person of the past. Between it leaving the publishing house, to being loved and passed on by George, to then ending up in my possession, it would’ve been in the hands of many others. It has survived a time span that no human could physically do. That, in itself, is a remarkable trait books have. Technology may be able to do things we never dreamed of for the future, but books come from the past, and that is perplexing.
Windows to the World
Picture this, you’re a gentleman or lady of a household in the 18th century and other than social engagements and running the estate, you do not see much outside the gates of your manor house.
Picking up a book in those times, would be like opening a gateway to the world. Travel was not as it is now. The internet shows us images of perfect paradises and magnanimous mountains, but in the past, this was not a thing that could be found within the click of a few buttons. Books, although sometimes inaccurate depictions of places, were the only way for people to escape to a world in which they would never discover.
“I’ve never read a full book before.”
I heard this statement a handful of times in my life. As foreign as this phrase is to me as an avidly passionate reader, I am aware that some people have never found “The One” book that entices them to read. The one that makes you realise what you have been missing the whole time. Some people just don’t enjoy reading and each to their own I say. However, I don’t think it is always a case of not liking to read, I strongly believe they have never found that one book that changes everything.
Kristin Hannah’s ‘The Nightingale.’
Book before film. ALWAYS!
Watching the film before reading the book, is the equivalent to visiting a monument or destination first and THEN going home and reading about the place. We all see snippets of our holidays in the brochure , but we cannot really create a clearly accurate picture in our mind of what it looks like in person. This is the same with reading: we imagine the characters and the settings based on the description given by the most powerful person in the book – the author. The travel brochure or the ancient monument leaflet is portrayed as to not give everything away , they give opportunity to surmise in your mind what you think it will be like. Then once you arrive at your destination a.k.a watching the film, you finally see it in action. Watching the film beforehand takes away the most enjoyable part of a book – creating the characters in your mind. The author doesn’t force a precise picture upon you; he/she leaves your imagination to thrive, which is the magical thing about a story that is translated through words.
“I prefer reading on a kindle.”
Like I said before, each to their own. A kindle is amazing for travel and I wouldn’t be without mine for beach and poolside reading! BUT, you cannot and will not beat the feeling of a paper book in your hand. Flicking through the pages is how reading should be done. However, taking 8 books in a 20KG suitcase wouldn’t leave much room for anything else. SO when it comes to travel a kindle does wins the battle, but books would always win the war.
“Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.”
– Mason Cooley.