For the Love of Reading Books
Bibliomania or Bibliophilia?
What is it that attracts us to the written word? Why do we love the feeling of cradling a book in our hands, rubbing the cover, and stroking the spine? What is it that we love about the alluring aroma that fills our nostrils the moment we open an old book? Why do we find comfort being surrounded by books, admiring our collection on the shelves with delight?
Have us book lovers gone crazy? Have us book collectors and adorers, obsessed with reading books, simply gone mad with bibliomania?
Well, I may throw myself into that category. But most of us who have a fondness in our hearts for the written word would at least consider themselves bibliophiles. What is a bibliophile? It is simply someone who loves books.
Why Are People Still Reading?
But seriously...in the modern age of entertainment, what is it about the book that keeps us coming back for more without beeps, buzzes, notifications, and in your face stimulation? I believe Stephen King is right when he says, "Books are uniquely portable magic." And magic, they are.
It is really the only available medium that gives us a personal connection to both the living and the dead without ever meeting them. We can communicate with them in a sense by reading and interacting with the essence of themselves left behind in the written word.
Reading is a Movie in the Mind
Somehow, in every reader's mind, we have a subconscious, creative dialogue with the author, laying out the setting, discussing what the characters look and sound like, and perhaps even being taught lessons from the text that positively change and influence your life more than anyone you've ever met.
Sure, I can sit down and watch a movie and be entertained. But I have very little interaction with or power over the film or director. Because the story is already written, there is very little imagination involved in watching a movie. It's characters are already cast. The screen projects exactly what the director wants you to see.
"Ugh, the movie left out so much from the book!"
Now, don't get me wrong. There's some beautiful, moving films. But don't we all finish a movie based on a book with a sigh? Don't we all leave saying, "It was ok but not nearly as good as the book?"
Do you want to know why, my friend? Because you had zero influence over that film. You are watching a movie to view someone else's interpretation of a story; you read a book to create your own. So how could a movie ever stand up to the vision you've created in your head (with the author's guidance, of course)?
Books Are Portals To Our Imagination
It can't. We love books because they are portals to our imagination. They take us places we always wanted to go, places we never thought possible, and teleport us to the deepest truths about ourselves that we never knew existed.
So get out of the audience. Come sit in the director's chair and read a book today. It just damn well be the greatest film you ever see.