The Soft Influence of Books in My Life

Leigh - Bruce, South Dakota
Entered on February 11, 2008

They are the muses of my imagination, the teachers of my thoughts, and the inspiration of my ideas. They can be pleasant, they can be frightening, they can be funny, and they can be tragic. They often confuse and confront me, yet they comfort and console me, as well. They are some of my best friends. They are books.

I believe in books because of the soft influence they have had on my life. Every cleverly fabricated sentence and every brilliantly woven story I have read has etched a bit of itself into my brain. Every book I have read has given me new ideas, new perspectives, new vocabulary, and new treasures to place in the storehouses of my mind. In essence, books have affected the way I think, the way I make decisions, and the very person I am.

To me, books are like oxygen and reading them is as essential as breathing. I am addicted to the tranquil whirlwind that books are. I do not just read books; I experience them. Reading a book is a completely sedentary activity, yet it contains so much potential for a delightful adventure! I have traveled to the mystical lands of Narnia and Middle Earth. I have rejoiced over Gryffindor winning the House Cup. I have remained in suspense as the Ingalls family struggled to survive through the winter of 1880. No matter its significance, every book has burrowed its way into my mind and made itself a part of my experience.

One of my favorite books, Tuesdays with Morrie, by Mitch Albom, influenced me to a degree that I have never experienced with any book besides the Bible. The main character, Morrie Schwartz, possessed such an intense, characteristic love for people and life that even the story of his last few months left a huge impression. Reading Tuesdays with Morrie subconsciously changed my understanding of what is important in life. The callous opinions of others became completely arbitrary to me. I recognized the value and beauty of relationships, and I quit allowing shallow insecurities to interfere with my individualism. As I read Tuesdays with Morrie, I learned that life was best lived when it was not about me.

You see, there is magic involved with reading books. A book is just a book until I begin to read it. Then it becomes alive! Each relationship I have had with a book has played a part in making me who I am. They have instructed, invigorated, enlightened, and motivated me. They have shared secrets, and they have given me advice. Books have merged their way into the very essence of my spirit. They have shaken my attitudes, and they have made ripples in the pools of my consciousness. Books take me captive and I wish they would never bring me back. Books are some of my best friends, and I will continue to indulge in their satisfying qualities until my life-story reaches its own conclusion.