If you’re a bookworm, you will inevitably face the accusation that you have not really experienced life because your nose is always buried in a book, in an alternate world that has nothing to do with this one. Wrong. I hope other bookworms will back me on this, but reading so much has not limited in my experience of the world, but it has expanded it.
While it is true that you cannot experience the world through books, you can see things in books that you would never see in real life. You can experience things that are not yet available to you in the real world, like visiting Scotland for instance. My biggest thing about books though, for me, is that they have put things into perspective. You think your life sucks? How about you step into the life of Mac from Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series. Then you will truly know what it means to have your entire life torn apart.
I’ve said this to my dad, who is not a reader, and I’m not sure he really believed me, but books have taught me more than most people realize. I’ve read about people who were ripped apart emotionally, physically, mentally, and somehow in spite of the odds, they came back from it, one day at a time, to live a happy and fulfilling life. I’ve seen ultimate acts of forgiveness and the ultimate price paid for vengeance. I’ve seen what it truly means to be a family, to be a friend, to be a genuine human being. So while I’ve been in my room alone on a Friday night, I was still learning about the world through books.
I would not be the same without books in my life. I would not be the same without certain stories that influence me to this day, in some cases nearly eight years after I read them for the first time. It’s strange the stories that really stick with you. I read the Black Jewels Trilogy in ninth grade and I was entranced, completely in love with the story and the characters. In the time since, I’ve fallen in and out of love with series after series, but that is one I always go back to. The same goes for the Fever series, which I gobbled up about two years ago after eyeing Darkfever with distaste for a few years. Faefever was the third book and its ending left me so stunned that after I read the final line, I sat staring off into space for a few minutes. Moning had done something most authors go to great lengths to avoid. Actually, it was the same crap that Anne Bishop put many of her characters through in the Black Jewels Trilogy. The ultimate act of violation, with her lead character being so young when it happened to her.
The ultimate acts of human depravity and the ultimate showing of human courage and honor. These things don’t always apply in our day to day lives, but somewhere in the back of my mind, I understand them. I understand evil and I understand honor, and yes, I did learn that from a book because to me, these people are alive. They are people I know, friends and loved ones, and just like in real life, I saw what they went through and I learned from it. They taught me, surprised me, ultimately influenced me.
If we couldn’t learn about life through stories, then why are our myths so important? How have they survived so many centuries? Our legends, how have they survived? I’m going to quote one of my favorite movies and a prime example that even cartoons can apply to real life. In Disney and Pixar’s Brave, Merida’s mother said to her “Legends are lessons, they ring with truth.” We keep our stories alive because we place importance in them, because we still learn from them. We learn about the darkness that exists in us all, we learn what we are capable of us a humans, both the good and the bad. We see what love can change, how it can move mountains. We learn about love and faith, those two things that we are nothing without.
So bookworms, keep reading and don’t let anyone ever guilt you for it. We are experiencing life, sometimes more so than the people who don’t read. It might be argued that bookworms are engaging in the study of people when they pick up a new book. We are observers and every time we open the covers of a new book, we are embarking on a new case study of the human condition. So tell me again how I am not experiencing life, how I am not experiencing different people and different places and things.
On that note, are there any books that have influenced you or changed your life? I would love to hear about them!