Tonight, I picked up Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami from the bookshelf. I found an old bookmark a few pages in – it looks like I started reading it before, but for whatever reason, stopped. Then, I started thinking about how books are a lot like relationships.
Sometimes, we just aren’t ready for the story yet, even if it’s a good one. Sometimes, we need to do some growing first to be able to fully appreciate them. Then, there are the beloved volumes that we knew as children; they helped shape us and have a treasured spot in our hearts, but we don’t turn to them as often as we should.
There are some books that we just pick up because we like the cover, even if what’s inside lacks any depth or meaning. Like spending time with some people who we know aren’t right for us, sometimes we get them anyway. There’s just something alluring about a bad story that we can’t resist. Admit it: we all have guilty pleasures. And after a bad-book hangover, we re-frame and might begin to have a better appreciation for the good ones.
The very best books are a lot like the very best relationships: they grow with us, they provide wisdom or laughter when it is needed the most, we appreciate what’s inside even if the cover gets a little worn. We often find them in the most unexpected of places or are introduced through a friend. Sometimes, we use the internet to find them.
The best books, like the best people, provide inspiration and make us want to become better versions of ourselves. They stretch us, change us. They make us wish that there were more books like them in the world. We spend a lot of time thinking about the book, even when we’re reading other ones. We want to learn everything about them. They send us on new adventures and experiences, they make us feel new emotions. They challenge us. No two days are the same with them, their very presence makes life better.
We like the way they smell. We want to take them everywhere. We turn to them for comfort. We take them to bed. They just seem to fit. We love them. Even though we know their secrets, we want more and never get tired of hearing them. They become a part of who we are. They become a chapter in the story of our own lives.
So, here’s to new stories, adventures, and love. But don’t forget about the ones already on the shelf too…you never know when you’ll need them most.