What My Love Affair With Books Has Taught Me

Revisiting one of my older posts from 2016.

For as long as I can remember, I have always had a book in my hand. Books have always been my solace, my escape from the real world. They kept me calm in my anxious moments. They gave me a place to hide when I did not want to be social and growing up, that was all the time. I won’t lie, there were times I hated my extended family. Anytime I tried to join in or talk to them they always somehow made me feel like an outsider. I tried to tell myself it was my imagination, but the look on their face said it all. So, I would always quietly retreat into my books.

I would not call myself a voracious reader or a book snob. I read pretty much anything that catches my interest. My tastes tend to change all the time, romance, mysteries, fiction, nonfiction, thrillers, action-adventure, even the odd religious book.

My current book of choice is a Bollywood romance called Busted in Bollywood. I have never quite read anything like this before, but so far so good. It is an educational look at a world I am not familiar with. All with a touch of comedy and romance. I know next to nil about Indian culture and find myself pausing between paragraphs to research something I had just read. It is embarrassing as a Caribbean woman to admit this. My country is a mixture of different cultures and races, and while we live close together, my antisocial tendencies have kept me from immersing myself in other new cultures.

And this can be stifling. Not knowing. I am learning as I grow older, that not everything can be learned from a book. Some things can only be learned from life experiences. And I cannot choose to hide behind a novel, just because I don’t want to face the world out of fear of what they may think or how they may treat me. What other people think of me is none of my business. I am who I am and I am tired of hiding.

I guess what I am trying to say is, books are wonderful. They can take the imagination to amazing new heights. But they are no substitution for the real world, real experiences. I will never stop reading. I love the feel of a book between my fingertips. But I have also come to realise that sometimes I need to pull my nose out of the pages, take a good look at the world around me and enjoy it.

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