Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme where every Tuesday we look at a particular topic for discussion and use various (or more to the point, ten) bookish examples to demonstrate that particular topic. Top Ten Tuesday (created and hosted by The Broke and Bookish) is now being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and future week’s topics can be found here.
When I think about it, it feels as if I’ve been a reader all my life: not true, of course, because for the first handful of years in my existence I did not know how to read – although I’ve been told that I learned pretty early and was already proficient enough by the time I started school. Since then, books have always been a constant presence in my life, and I still remember my grandfather admonition about harming my eyesight through too much reading…
A few of my acquaintances often comment about my fascination with books, and reading, as if it were something unusual (or maybe weird, but they are far too polite to use that word 😀 ), so – even though I know I’m preaching to choir here – let me list some of the reasons I enjoy losing myself in a good book, or two, or three, or…. Ok, who’s counting?
BOOKS OPEN A WINDOW ON THE “ELSEWHERE”
Be they based on the real world or in some imagined ones, books allow your mind to wander in far away places and to experience different situations, to wonder what you would do in the same circumstances as you follow the characters along their journeys. To quote GRR Martin: “A reader lives a thousand lives. The man who never reads lives only one.”
BOOKS HELP YOU FORGET THE TROUBLES OF THE WORLD
This has never been more true than in the past year and a half: the solace offered by books, as the world suffered through the pandemic and people went a little (or more than a little…) crazy, is quite priceless, and I have often wondered how non-readers managed to cope with such a grim reality without the refuge offered by an engrossing work of fiction.
BOOKS CHALLENGE THE MIND
This is particularly true when it comes to speculative fiction, but it can also be applied to mainstream literature: the age-old, but still valid, question “What if…?” spurred many authors to imagine situations where a little change in everyday routines could have an avalanche effect on characters, on the perception of our world or in the creation of new and amazing ones. And we readers enjoy the results…
BOOKS PROTECT YOU FROM BOREDOM
Have you ever faced a long journey, a slow-moving queue at the post office or an interminable stay in the doctor’s waiting room? We all did, and all of us who were armed with a book were able to let time fly without almost noticing it, because we were traveling in some other place, some other time. Where others felt that those long minutes, or hours, were wasted, we filled them with joy and wonder.
BOOKS ARE THE BEST COMPANIONS FOR A RAINY AFTERNOON
No need to explain this one: a rainy afternoon can turn into an amazing adventure, or a thrilling quest, once we have a comfortable armchair to sit in and a hefty book to wade into. My own idea of paradise 😉
BOOKS GIVE POWER TO YOUR DREAMS
Yes, I know, many accuse readers of speculative fiction of being guilty of escapism, of not keeping our feet firmly rooted in reality, but they keep forgetting that many of the discoveries that have bettered human conditions came exactly from dreams: mankind dreamed of the ability to fly, to reach other planets, to cure terrible illnesses, to learn the secrets of our ancestors. Escapism, right? TSK!
BOOKS ARE LIKE SURPRISE PRESENTS
Granted, when we choose a book it’s because the synopsis intrigued us, or we know the author’s favorite themes, but still there is that element of surprise, of not knowing exactly what the story holds in store for us: there is that little clause in the unwritten contract between author and reader that says “amaze me”. When it’s fulfilled, it makes the book, and the story it tells, very special indeed.
BOOKS ARE THE BEST HOBBY IN THE WORLD
Yes, because you can take them anywhere! Try and do the same with watercolor painting, piano playing, carpentry, and so on… A book fits everywhere and when it comes to ebooks you can have an entire library (well, almost…) at your beck and call in a small space and with little weight.
BOOKS GUIDE YOU TO SLEEP, OR SHARE YOUR WAKEFULNESS
I know I’m unable – no matter how tired I am – to go to sleep if I can’t read at least a few pages of my current book: it’s something of a Pavlovian conditioning, but without a chapter or two under my proverbial belt, I can’t go to sleep. On the other hand, if I fall prey to a bout of insomnia, books are there to share the long hours of wakefulness until sleep finally decides to make an appearance.
BOOKS ARE THE BEST INVENTION, EVER
Maybe I should have placed this at the very start of the list. I cannot imagine a world without books, can you?