This I Believe: Books

March 6, 2012
I believe in many things. I believe that the best medicine for sadness is laughter. I believe that no matter what, we are responsible for our actions, as well as their consequences. I believe that everyone, absolutely everyone, on this earth is equal and should be treated as such. I believe that perspective affects all opinions, even if they’re supposedly unbiased. But above all else, I believe in the power of books, and words on a page, to change people. I believe in the places that books can take you, the feelings the can evoke in you, and the worlds they can immerse you in. From the fantastical lives of Harry and his friends to the somewhat more realistic ones of Jane and Mr. Rochester, you can be transported to a life not your own by simply reading a book. Think about the impact your favorite book or series has had on your life. Whether it is the one that got you hooked on reading, or opened up your eyes to a whole different worldview and perspective. It may have been something from kindergarten that taught you about friendship, or something from freshman year that showed you the perspective of someone you might have made fun of before. Everyone that is able to read has, at some point in their lives, read a book or a series that they will remember forever.
For as long as I have been able to remember, reading has been an integral part of who I am. Even before I could read them myself, my parents were reading stories and books to me. The way the words can take you to such a different place, or time, is captivating. If I have a bad day, I go home and read my favorite book to get my mind off of things. The trials and achievements the characters in my books get themselves through make me feel as though I am the one living them, not the main character. I see it all happen as though I am the one in the book, and it’s this that keeps me intrigued. Going back and rereading a book for the fourth, or even fifth or sixth, time just feels like revisiting a pleasant memory, as though I’m returning to the place and time I read it the first time.
When I was about 7, in the second grade, I read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for the first of what has become many times. Then I read Chamber of Secrets and Prisoner of Azkaban. By that point, I was so engrossed in Hogwarts, Harry, and all the magic, it seemed I couldn’t read them fast enough. The tales, spun so intricately, pulled me in, and I was able to experience for myself everything that happened just from the words on a page. The details of the world that only Rowling knows, the relationships she created, and, above all, the people she was able to bring so realistically to life are what make that series what it is. Everything that has come from it, the movies, celebrities, the almost cult-like following, all stemmed from one idea, and from that idea, 7 books.
I am the kind of person who can read a book over and over again and not tire of it. When I reread something, it’s almost like hearing a song or smelling a scent that can always send me back to a specific memory. The best books are the ones that can function as a kind of trigger that not only makes you feel as though you are in the tale, but also in the place where you first experienced it all. For me, it could be my room, or sitting in a beach chair, listening to the ocean crashing in the background, but the sensation is always the same. I feel as though I can look around, touch what’s around me, like a time machine that has me feeling what I once felt as though it was truly that day and time again. No matter how many times I’ve read a good book, I can always go back and reread it, and I nearly always find something new in the words, either new meanings for sentences I’ve read countless times in the past, as well as things I’d never noticed before, now bringing more to the timeless tales.
All people, young and old, can probably look back to a time in their lives when they were read a book, and be able to say, “That’s when my view of that changed,”, or “That book, right there, is the reason I love to read today.” It’s because of the universally shared characteristics of books and words that make me truly believe in their overwhelming power.





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