I remember the first time I watched the movie About Time.
In my favorite scene, Tim (the main character) is in the study with his father, who is explaining to his son that the men in their family have the ability to travel in time.
His father replies, “For me,
I felt so in touch with the character it brought me to tears.
I’m serious! I cried, rewinded, and replayed the scene a few times.
It just felt good to be understood.
Have you felt understood by others, in your fascination with books, or have you felt misunderstood? Are you alone in your journey, or in good company with other bibliophiles?
Books have always been my refuge
Books are where I slow down. Books are where I go when I’m searching for answers. Books are where I immerse myself in stories, learning and the journey of self-discovery.
What is it that’s SO AMAZING about reading?!
I truly am at a loss when someone tells me they, “… aren’t really a reader” … How?! What the?
Reading is like breathing! Without books, I choke and cough, stumbling through life like a deflated balloon.
Is it the expansion or escape of ordinary life?
Ordinary life has a wonder to it, no doubt. I don’t mean to say that a vicarious life, lived through books, is the path of growth.
But personally, I find myself more awakened to the mystery of ordinary life when I’ve been stretching my imaginative muscles.
“I have lived a thousand lives lost within the pages of a book.”Robert Cormier
And my go-to “imagination fitness center” is not a place for curling dumbells; I workout by flipping the pages of a fairy tale or fictional story.
But I’ve had bookless seasons, too
Like many book lovers, I’ve had seasons of life where I wasn’t reading much, if at all. Some of the dry spells have lasted for months.
Life felt too busy, or my brain was exhausted, I was generally feeling depressed, or my eyes were tired… whatever the reason.
I’m falling in love with reading again
While there is no reason to shame yourself, or guilt trip anyone else for that matter, for going through a low season, it’s also true for me that books bring back the magic in my life.
Without reading, I find my days to be hollow husks of emptiness. I walk about with a stifled imagination and feel out of touch with a part of my soul that I need.
I’m lulled into a sleepy monotony in the day-to-day, hardly noticing the awe and beauty around me, and the spark of life eludes me.
Reading for rejuvenation
While I really do subscribe to a relationship with books that is free from agenda, I also recognize how much I need to read even when I don’t feel like it.
I’m not saying that you should begin driving yourself like a Nazi (forgive the irreverent humor), and treat books like a job you hate instead of a partnership founded on love. Let’s not be too rigid about our TBR lists.
I am saying, consider that if you’re feeling parched in life, you might be thirsty for the nourishment of a book that speaks to you on a deeper level.
Find your “missing” self in characters you love
From a psychological perspective, we often project latent pieces of our own truest selves onto others.
What this really means is that the characters you most love might be calling to you from your own soul, mirroring facets of yourself that you’ve forgotten or have yet to uncover.
“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.”Franz Kafka
If you’re finding yourself depressed lately, perhaps you’re suppressing part of yourself.
May I suggest you go pick up that old favorite book of yours?
The one with the character you admire, (or despise)… the one that provokes you to feel deeply and
It may just quicken you back to life.
At the end of the day, reading books is a psycho-spiritual journey
The journey of life is the journey to discovering and expressing your SELF. The deepest YOU.
This is the holy grail of life.
And finding the self is not something we arrive at, it’s a road that we wander onto and stumble on…
“…it is a great and surprising discovery when we find that what we had supposed to be the final peak is nothing but the first step in a very long climb.”CG Jung
For us book-lovers, we are enraptured by characters, storylines, and ultimately we are looking into bright-shiny mirrors that reflect our inner selves.
Books are the oxygen for my inner fire, they stoke the flame, keep it burning.Forrest Webber
This is why I love books. This is why I am committed to reading.
This is why I am betrothed to books and always will be. I may fall for a season, but I am always drawn back to this incredible world of books.
And I love it.