A friend of mine recently asked me this question: “Why do you think we should always keep a book with ourselves? I personally feel that it a good way of staying in isolation and leading life with someone’s else’s experience. I love books and respect the fact that it gives lots of knowledge but I also feel we slowly become book worms and speak very bookish language and forget ourselves. What do you think?”
For as long as I can remember, books have been a hugely important part of my life. Throughout my whole career as a student, I always brought a book to school with me. I kept it on the corner of my desk to read whenever I finished a test early or to read during recess. I always have one in my purse, whether I’m going to a quiet social gathering with my friends or to some bigger function. Books are an essential and enormous part of me, and maybe because of this, I can’t fathom spending life as a non-reader.
Are Books Isolating?
I think that whether carrying a book around at all times depends on whether or not you think isolation is a bad thing or not. As an introvert, it’s always a comfort for me to have a book on hand so that if I’m feeling exhausted in a social situation, I can retreat into a book and find some privacy there. I don’t even necessarily need to read the book for it to be a comfort for me. Just having it around is nice. Furthermore, it’s usually the people that I’m closest to who I’m comfortable sitting and reading, enjoying companionable silence with.
I also don’t think that having a book on hand has to be isolating. In fact, I often find that it can be a topic for conversation when I’m out and about. I’ll get questions from strangers asking what I’m reading or if I see somebody reading something that looks interesting to me I’ll ask them about it. Books can actually serve as a way for me to connect with the people around me who I would normally be too shy to talk to!
Stories Make Us More Empathetic
Reading stories exposes us to the life stories, experiences, and emotions of the people we read about. There are many lives I’ve read about that I wouldn’t necessarily want to live for myself, but that I am grateful for having read about. By reading books written by different people and from their different perspectives, I feel like I’ve gotten a glimpse into so many lives and am better able to imagine things from their points-of-view. If you want a little more info, check out this video!
Books are one of my greatest joys, and reading is a very meditative experience for me. I don’t think there’s any thing wrong with being a bookworm or connecting with others over a story. Many of my friendships have been built through a mutual love for books!