This I Believe

Elizabeth - Las Cruces, New Mexico
Entered on December 7, 2007

Books befriended me when I was very young. Francis Bacon wrote, “For Friends…do but look upon good Books: they are true friends, that will neither flatter nor dissemble.” My tastes in fine literature have evolved and matured, from Are You My Mother? to The BFG to A Separate Peace to my current favorite, Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, but books have consistently enthralled me. I believe in cramming as many books into your head as possible and then stretching your head so more books will squeeze into your brain.

Books educate about a myriad of possibilities, but most of all—they’re fun to read. I love sitting down after a long day and pulling out a book I can read in any place or posture whether I’m lounging in my plush recliner, brushing my teeth, stubbornly refusing to get out of bed, or even (and I’m semi-ashamed to admit this) driving. I come by my bibliophilia honestly; I come from a whole family of book lovers. My grandfather even rigged his exercise bike with a homemade book holder; he taught me how to read and drive with my knees.

I’m a college student, and everyone I take classes with has chosen to bee in school; you’d think they love to read and learn, but that is not the case. I am always shocked that people are not bookworms like me; because I love books so much, it flabbergasts me that some people only read because it is required. Sometimes I even wonder if the have been exposed to wonderful literature like Austen, Orwell, and even Dr. Seuss, because books have been so influential in my life; I cannot imagine not reading.

Books can take your mind upon new flights of fancy that are utterly foreign and fantastic. C. S. Lewis penned these words about reading, “But in reading literature I become a thousand men and yet remain myself;” my opinion echoes his completely. For me, the best books expose an entirely new culture for all its good and bad aspects. I read The Kite Runner and Reading Lotlita in Tehran this summer; they both depict horrifying aspects of Muslim culture in the Middle East, but show rich cultures full of tradition. I love to read about cultures that are fictional, like another of my favorites called Ella Minnow Pea which acquaints readers with a society of lexophiles in peril at the loss of beloved letters.

Groucho Marx, a profound twentieth century philosopher, held that “outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.” I concur, and assert that you can never have too many friends when they are hardbacks with that familiar must-dusty smell of a secondhand bookstore. I believe in reading ravenously, and feasting upon luscious literature.