For the Love of Books…
What would the world be without books? The thought is unbearable. For someone accustomed to preying upon used book sales and harboring withdrawal symptoms upon exiting a bookstore, the very thought sends chills up my spine. If food is nourishment for the body, then books are nourishment for the mind, and can anything be more important than a nourished mind inside a nourished body?
To think of the worlds buried within the pages of books is to gaze upon a night sky with millions of stars. Each one has a story awaiting discovery. A yearning to fill a void and a desire to shed light where there is no light. Shining in our midst, they release ideas, concepts and experiences. They tell of harrowing tales and adventurous sagas and ignite our imagination of what once was, of what is, and of what can be. They’re our past and present, and without them there can be no future.
In our Orwellian-like age of many platitudes and slogans, books are the real thing. They are the epitome of diversity in action – diverse in thought, opinion and history. They inform and inspire as well as provoke and mislead. In a free society, they’re catalysts for thought calling the individual to decipher and decode what is of value and what isn’t. In an enslaved one, they’re instruments of propaganda and manipulation – no questions asked.
The beauty of books isn’t in their soft touch, rich texture and rustic smell, but in the experience that awaits us upon flipping that first page. A well-written tome with style and grace is that rare ticket to a faraway place without ever leaving the arm chair. It lures and seduces, leading us on a journey we’ve never dreamed possible. It weaves a tale in which we become apart, if only for a short time. Finished, we ponder its significance, sometimes wanting more, sometimes not.
“You cannot open a book without learning something,” said Chinese philosopher Confucius (551 BC – 479 BC). Perhaps true, but in this age of ‘literary’ mass production, it’s the discerning reader that selects books with care. The guise of a book isn’t to entertain alone, but to stimulate and go beyond. The mark of a powerful read is to challenge and make uncomfortable. Agreement isn’t necessarily the goal, but drawing the reader into thought is the noblest outcome that any author can ever hope to achieve. And in a world of ever shortening attention spans, thought has become precious indeed!
On their own, books are useless; they’re mere decoration. It’s the reader that gives them their sway. Sitting on a shelf they collect dust and wither, but with skimming eyes they come to life. We may own stack upon stack of them, all size, shape and manner, but what consequence are they if we never read? Read. We must read if they’re to be of any use to us (see Odds Are You Won’t Read This…).
Labor Day is upon us and with it the first signs of autumn. As cooler nights and shorter days prevail, it’s time to pick up that book to enjoy, to learn and above all to think. For the love of books, it’s time to do it…
For more check out the Global Ebook Awards GOLD & SILVER Winner of 2014 & 2016, The C.A.T. Principle: Change, Action, Trust – Words to Live By available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. See the latest Amazon reviews here.
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