Sunday, 12 June 2011

Book addiction

I was six-years old when I was indirectly introduced to books. I didn't really have much choice in the matter then though. I was always one of the last ones to get picked-up from school by our parents, and since I was running all over the campus making a mischief of myself, they decided to bring me to the school library instead after classes, there to spend the whole afternoon while waiting for my mom to finish work and pick me up. I guess that was  the start of my addiction to books. By nine years old I was already a voracious reader and a dedicated member of the library club, spending most of my weekday afternoons and even my saturday mornings there. By twelve years old I was consistently at the library's top five borrowers list. Until now libraries and bookstores are one of my favorite hang-outs, and if only they're open until 4am in the morning, serve beer, and have the occasional rock band, they would've been perfect.

What made me addicted to books? I guess firstly because they serve as portals to new exciting realms. Good fiction sort of serves as my sanctuary and provide relief, serenity, and entertainment whenever the real world becomes too irritating, confusing, noisy, lonesome, or just plain old boring. They take me to places I've never been to, and probably never will. They provide many possible illusions that the mind can conjure and blocks off reality for a while . A good novel with a healthy imagination is probably one of the best hallucinogens out there, and they're legal. Who needs drugs when you have Terry Pratchett or Ayn Rand or Tom Clancy.

Mommy reading baby a story
Secondly they serve as good sources of information and alternate point of views on everything under the sun. Some of the weirdest people are writers, they look at the world at a skewed angle, and they often come up with so many strange infos and ideas. Some writings will tickle your imagination, some will light the bulb above your head and provide that "aha!" moment, and a few will twist and wring your mind, deforming your reasoning beyond its current shape. Either way they will expand your perceptions on different aspects of life and provide fresh outlooks on various situations.

Thirdly, and probably the most important for me, those literary crafts provide you with life-changing experiences that you probably won't get in reality. Based from the writer's in-depth research and personal experiences, they meticulously construct conflicted worlds that their characters will re-shape with their actions depending on the principles or ideologies they live by. They take us intimately into the mind and soul of their heroes and villains, and show us what drives them towards their thoughts and actions at any given scenario. Granted that not all books are realistic, and life is, more often than not, stranger than fiction, but good books (also news articles, good blogs, etc.), can be very convincing, and I believe provides good exposure for everyone. At the very least it would prompt us into thinking as to how we would approach the same dilemma and would react in that given situation.

Books opened up the world to me. It introduced to me so many possible opportunities that a lifetime can offer. It expanded my dreams beyond the perimeter of the country where I lived in that time. It showed me that there's significantly more to explore, and shouldn't limit ourselves to what our parents or teachers or friends tell us. It also taught me to how to listen to others attentively, to sort out which stories have merit, to search for my own facts to validate or disprove, and to finally distill what lessons I can from it. And most of all, it set the stage for my own life story, and demonstrated to me that everyone is a writer, our life our magnum opus, and how we write it should never be controlled by the destructive actions of our antagonists, but by the strength and principles of our protagonists.

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