Why Do I Love Books?

A few weeks ago, it was National Book Lovers Day. I meant to post this blog then, but time tends to intervene. And I thought to myself to answer that question: why do I love books, especially reading them?

A Refuge From the World

Books provide a refuge from the current world. Some aren’t reassuring, like nonfiction treatises on climate change. Others can be though, with talks of history and science. Knowing that octopi hold grudges and that ants can take over other colonies can be fascinating. So can learning that certain species of jellyfish are immortal, de-aging and re-aging for as long as they desire to live.

Others, however, remind us of the joy of magic. We can dive into another world, and immerse ourselves in one that feels utterly joyful. There was a reason that children’s literature strikes a nerve with many adults; we want to feel the joy that comes with reading a story that makes a person feel whole. There is wonder and optimism, even in the worst of times.

Books and stories also allow us to feel catharsis. We can experience the sadness that comes with a story, or the joy that arrives with it. Sometimes we need a book that gives us permission to be angry at a character, because we can’t get angry in real life. Anger can hurt someone when we lose control. With a book, we can feel those emotions in a safe space.

In other cases, we can learn about new perspectives. While some stories can remain too triggering with their portrayal of bullies, others can remind us that we have ways to stay strong. And when a book sucks while striking a nerve, rather than demand it vanishes off the face of the Earth, we can talk about it like adults. We can discuss what we like and don’t like.

You can also identify who your friends are based on their reactions to books you like or dislike, and vice-versa. A real friend will respect your opinion regardless of what happens, or if you disagree about how a story should have gone. You can talk lore and headcanon if you wish, and possible theories when going into a series in-progress. The fun is what you can discover together with a friend, while traveling down such a path.

The Superstitions

Of course, books can also identify who aren’t your friends. One of my paranoias is that if someone likes certain books that I didn’t and they end up being toxic, I will review the series with a grain of salt. A very huge grain of salt. It’s what you have to do to protect yourself. Otherwise, you will end up betrayed and hurt, wondering where did things go wrong. At the least, I speak from experience.

It isn’t rational, of course; writers don’t determine who does and doesn’t love their books. You only know people when they decide they you are not worth their time, or that continuing to be their friend is draining. Then you have to make a decision for yourself, to know that you have to leave before they drown you. Otherwise, it will be a very long journey of letting someone else cut you down in the name of a mutual love and respect.

What Is the Best Experience?

Ideally, books allow you to connect with others who will appreciate them. You can make new friends. Or you can find people that speak on the same wavelength as you do. There is no better joy than that, when you realize that you can and will belong in another place.

In addition, books help you grow as a person. You may discover new facts that you hadn’t considered before, like the joy of space, or how history can change depending on who is telling the story. Speakasies accidentally poisoning people with wood alcohol can speak of a promise of murder, or of hurting your customer base while trying to supply an addictive demand of substances. In other cases, you may learn about how bees have long memories, and what wasps write in their nests in a science fiction tale. Or you can find out what you love and don’t love about chosen one tales. People can choose to be heroic or otherwise.

That is why I love books. Because they can introduce you to a new world, if you feel brave enough tot traverse it. All you need to do is open the page.