Have you ever cringed at the memory of your book not being returned by someone who borrowed it long ago? I do too…big time! In fact, I hate it when people borrow my books and forget to return them or worse, return them in bad shape! If you are not an avid reader, you will never understand the pain of seeing a book in bad shape!
Let me take a moment to write about how I started reading. My father is an avid reader and reads several genres. I used to take his books (when I was only a kid who didn’t understand why it was fun to read books without pictures!) and rip them apart. Apparently he encouraged this habit because in the process of ripping them apart I would read a word or two! Quite a fascinating habit I had! It seems like those few words learnt to escape ennui built into a strong habit thereafter.
But coming to think of it, I don’t know how many of his books I tore apart. I sure wouldn’t have the patience to deal with that! I would be mad if someone did that to my books. I would yell and scream as if it were my skin being ripped off of my body…maybe I exaggerated that a little.
What do books do to us that bind us to them so strongly? Most readers will probably say that they are transported to an unreal world…I agree with that. It is a special feeling, a welcome break from the turbulence of life as we know it! But for me, it is also the fact that books offer a beautiful alternate explanation for a lot of things. Good literature is also a major factor. The way some things are written…they are close to my heart. Some statements, some dialogues, some thoughts stay with me forever. The best feeling though is of the way they smell ( I am sure several of you agree with this one).
As I mourn the loss of tens of books that were never returned to me, I sit with a second hand copy of ‘The Seventh Secret’ by Irving Wallace…wondering if Hitler is really alive! My alternate universe in Germany is exciting and unnerving. How’s yours?