I have a confession to make: I read a lot. As in, heaps. It’s what I do. Some people watch movies, some go out with friends, some spend time with their families, some play sports… And sure, I do all of that, but when I really want to space-out on life for a while, what I truly love most is sinking into a book.
Reading allows me to journey to other worlds. And in those worlds I can wield swords, wave wands, fall in love with vampires, sail across the universe, travel to the past and to the future… I can do anything. I’m only limited by the confines of the story – and even then, my own imagination can fill in any gaps if needed.
So, why is reading so beautiful?
Well, I’m sure there are a number of reasons, but one that I believe to be fairly significant is the fact that reading evokes emotion.
The right book can weave a story so potent, so powerful, so passionate that it can almost be traumatic at times. Take Harry Potter, for example. Ten years later and I’m still not over the death of Sirius Black. I mean, Dumbledore was devastating, sure, but Sirius? Come on, JK Rowling! He was Harry’s only ‘family’! I painstakingly waited for two more books after The Order of the Phoenix to see if Harry would find a way to bring him back from the veil in the DoM, but nope. No such luck.
… And don’t even get me started on how she killed off Fred Weasley. Omigosh.
… And Hedwig! That was awful!
Actually, most of the Harry Potter books were traumatic, especially towards the end of the series. But that’s because, seven books in, we’re not only attached to the story by that stage – we’re attached to the characters themselves. I don’t know about you, but I grew up with those books. They were a pivotal part of my childhood-to-early-young-adulthood. I fell in love with the world JK created and those who lived in it. I cheered with them as they celebrated, I laughed with them as they rejoiced, I fought with them as they battled, I mourned with them as they grieved. (And, boy, there was soooo much mourning by the end of The Deathly Hallows). What they felt, I felt. And I know that sounds weird, but it’s no less true.
Books are beautifully terrible. Or perhaps they’re terribly beautiful. Either way, they should all come with a warning. A disclaimer of sorts, something like: “BEWARE: Reading the following pages will change you forever. Open at your own risk.”
But you know what? Warning or not, I’d still turn those pages. Because for me, reading is like breathing. It’s as simple as that.