Reading Isn't Living, but a Way to Return to Life
Reading is not living, but it is one of the best ways to feel alive. It allows us to submerge ourselves in an ocean of words to take refuge, be revived, and feel free on those islands of literary serenity.
What does reading mean to you? Some say people read to know they are not alone. For others, it makes their day to day life more lively and gratifying.
To immerse oneself in a book is an exercise that nourishes, educates, and makes the mind more free and powerful.
Reading and books are a universal good that transcend worlds and cultures, and reach beyond time. They are a legacy of humanity that has been handed down from generation to generation.
If you are well-practiced in the art of intense, late-night reading sessions, we are sure that you will identify with the following reflections, and we invite you to add to the list.
The magic of stories
As a child, we first come to love the books that the adults in our lives often opened for us. Those books that helped us to discover something about ourselves.
The first books of childhood are emotional footprints lined with unforgettable fantasies. They were the keyholes we peeked through to experience terror, adventure, and love for the first time…
Often when we close our eyes, we want to relive all of those sensations that felt so new and intense; we want to turn again those faded yellow pages of our books from childhood. Those books that we still keep with our name written on the first page.
In some way, these old books are like photographs of the soul, like little universes that contain many of the parts of who we are.
There are emotions contained within those pages that still move us inside, and that make us ask ourselves if kids these days are just as passionately interested in books as our generation was. It’s obvious that their world seems so different than ours was, and that present day society is centered around technology and not on the soft pages of a book.
However, instead of just seeing the differences between their world and ours, it is worth it to put some time and effort into instilling in children a love of reading. How can we do this? Here are a few suggestions:
- Begin reading with children at an early age.
- The best way to do this is by setting an example. If there are books present in their immediate environment and are something intimate and familiar for the parents, children will adopt the same attitude and connection.
- Don’t force kids to read a certain genre or type of book. One reads because of curiosity, and a child will flourish as a reader when they have the freedom to read what they want.
- Establish reading hours. For example, make it a routine to go to bed with a book every night and read before falling asleep.
Books awaken the senses
It doesn’t matter how big the book is; it will never weigh us down. At times, we lug around huge books with us to devour while traveling on a train or a bus; they are islands on which we can take refuge.
Books are read, they are smelt, they are caressed. They are silent friends with whom a unique and exceptional union is formed; they are friends of good times and adventures.
Books can be enjoyed by all of our senses. In fact, it’s quite likely that you have at one point asked yourself the following:
Why do the oldest books have that strange smell that draws us in so much?
All of that is due to a hidden element among its pages. The reason can be found in lignin. Lignin is a class of polymer that is organically present in the plant kingdom. In the case of trees, for example, this element helps them to remain firm. All books, once they reach old age, have that unique essence that strengthens the pages as they get older and turn yellow.
Reading to be free, reading to be happy
Reading is more than just a daily refuge. It is the wake up call for new knowledge. It’s a way to live the stories and history of others, to travel through impossible worlds. It is to close a book and understand that we are no longer the same.
Reading expands, and allows us to return to reality when we want, knowing that in the back of our minds, there is something that follows us and connects us back to that other world. Books make our daily lives more vivid, more colorful.
How would people be if they had never opened a book? As Ghandi said: “If you don’t read, nothing happens. But if you do, so much happens.”
Life offers wisdom, there is no question, but he who reads as much as he breaths, and who searches every instant of every day for a glimpse through those literary keyholes and a chance to open those doors, experiences intense benefits. Despite the fact that many people think that a person who reads too much doesn’t want to live in the real world, they are wrong. Reading helps us become able and skilled people.
A good book allows us to relate many aspects of our daily lives that create stress and anxiety for us. They instruct us, they delight us, they calm us, and they give us knowledge.
If you read often and habitually challenges yourself in your reading, you are refining your essential meaning and purpose. A reader is a person with many diverse opinions, and who has developed their own voice because they have lived in many worlds, and they have entered into so many minds. Reading is not just a way to feel free; it is also a source of power within your reach.
Images Courtesy of: Зенина Ксения, Erin McGuire