“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies” – George R.R Martin.
I remember, I was on Mangalore station with my family, waiting for our train to arrive ; we were returning to Mumbai. I didn’t have a phone at that time, and the thought of spending 24hrs in train without having anything to do troubled my brain. So my dad decided to buy me a book, luckily of my choice or else I would have ended up reading a book on some random sport or some religious book I have no interest in. That was my first book ever, I was enthusiastic as holding the novel in my hand instantly made me feel like an adult. Sounds stupid but for a 11years old, it made sense.
When you sit down with readers and ask them about their childhood memories of reading a book; they will always tell you there was a book they loved that introduced them to the love of reading, or they had a book they loved and lost it along the way. They will be so emotional while telling you this because those books had an enormous effect in their lives. They will pay top dollar to read it again or they would love their children to read it too. So, why not save the day and buy these special books for your loved ones?Don’t you agree that books are the best thing to gift someone? And also to receive? Or a best thing in general?
I know it sounds vague but you have lived with your loved ones and you know what their interests are and what they want to achieve in their lives, help them accelerate the process by buying them books in that area. For example, your friend loves to cook, and you see them on you tube everyday trying new cooking classes. Even if they do not read, they will appreciate and read a special cook book that will enhance their love for cooking.
Icelanders have a beautiful tradition of giving books to each other on Christmas Eve and then spending the night reading. This custom is so deeply ingrained in the culture that it is the reason for the Jolabokaflod, or “Christmas Book Flood,” when the majority of books in Iceland are sold between September and December in preparation for Christmas giving.
Exchanging books with a friend, or buying second hand book is a whole different experience as a reader. When you open a second hand book and notice the markings, random sentences underlined by the previous reader, little notes ; you can feel the ghost of all the previous readers while reading that book. Sharing books feels like sharing a piece of yourself with someone and isn’t that a beautiful feeling? Unless that person isn’t a book person, goodness that’s like a knife being twisted in your chest.
While reading a second hand book or an exchanged book, you can almost feel the previous readers’ soul imprinted on the book just like an old flower inside a book. Also to mention, we need to be aware of this weird, dangerous breed of people out there : people who don’t return our books. They’ll soon be decalred ‘vicious’.
From reading tinkle as a kid in school to reading book thief during lectures in college ; reading while in local train is a different reading experience in itself because 98% of the time the person next to you is reading with you even if they understand nothing. I am glad they don’t turn the page themselves or else one day am sure I’ll end up making the compartment a WWE ring. (which it already is) Let’s not forget about books as a companion. They make you travel without even moving you in 3D.
So grab a book and how about a trip during this quarantine?