It has been said that stories are one of the best ways to understand who we are, that they reflect our lives, hopes, dreams and disappointments and capture what it means to be alive. This is one of the great gifts of books, their ability to make us feel something. You know when you read a book and it makes you laugh and reach for the tissues? I can tell how much I have enjoyed a novel by these two factors: 1) how much I just couldn’t put it down! 2) when it’s done, if I clutch the book to my chest like a very special thing for a moment, smiling.
Books also have the miraculous ability to take us away from our own lives. We can travel the world, move through history and fly off into imagined futures. I love reading for the pure escapism of it. It can be a drizzly winter afternoon, but you can be lost in a story taking place on a balmy tropical island. Books ignite our creative minds and set us free from our immediate surroundings. They can uplift us, enthral us and give us new ideas about the world we live in. You can read about light and fluffy things or intense topics, whatever floats your boat. What books do you love? What stories touched you? Have you ever read a book and thought about the characters after it ended?
The simple act of reading a book is also something that can go where we go – on the train, the aeroplane, in the bath, in bed, waiting for an appointment, alone at a sunny cafe. A book can fit in a backpack, a handbag, a bicycle basket or even into a kindle! How marvellous!
I read a quote the other day that sums it up –
"A book is a dream that you hold in your hands."
Sometimes as adults we get too busy to read, or we only read things that can enhance our lives, we read about finances, health, fitness, politics. And all of these things are so important and vital. But so is reading for pleasure and relaxation! So is reading for the utter simplicity of being swept away by a story not our own and into a whole new world. It is like hitting the pause button, floating away for a while, and coming back refreshed. That, to me, is always a good thing.
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