If you follow me on Tumblr, you may have noticed that I have been taking part in the 30 day book challenge. For those of you who don’t know, the 30 day book challenge is about looking at books that have a meaning to you or that you have an opinion about, for 30 days. So this got me thinking, “why do people love books so much?”.
Books have been around for millennia and stories for even longer. On the surface, a book is a way of carrying information from one person to another, whether it is stories, ways to pass your exam, or a biography of somebody’s life. And that’s what people love. I believe that people who love reading also love to learn. I think that’s also where the popularity of non-fiction comes from, people’s curiosity. When you’re younger, people will encourage you to read because it “improves your English” (as my mum constantly used to say to me). But if you ask someone why they like fiction, that’s not the reason they’ll give you. So there has to be something more.
Fiction centres on stories. About made up characters and events, and even whole new worlds. People have been making up stories for as long as time itself. And there have been people listening to them for that same amount of time. When I was growing up, the main reason I loved reading was because I could escape from my boring life. I loved how for a few moments I could be in a different place, a different time, with a whole new bunch of people having an adventure. And that’s what books do, you could be sitting in your bedroom, but be in an alternative universe at the same time. As I got older, I realised I loved the meaning that can be gained from a book. Again I was learning, but not about the best way to structure a sentence for my English exam, but about the world and all the good and bad things there are in it. You get to walk in another person’s shoes for an entire story, and to see the world from a different perspective.
When I’m old, and if somebody asks me a defining event that happened while I was growing up, I have no doubt I will say “Harry Potter”. Which brings me to my next point: the book community. People want to talk about books, whether if it’s discussing Snape’s motives for killing Dumbledore (it’s been 8 years guys), or why one character is better than the other. Books are there for the sharing. We want our friends to share our excitement, to see if they share our reaction. And since Harry Potter, reading has never been cooler. The excitement before each book release, the pouring over pages, and the waiting for each film, means that Pottermania is a part of my childhood that I’ll never forget.
The technological age has given a whole new dimension to the book community. You like an obscure book? Well someone else in the world must have read it, even if no one in your day to day life has. The internet provides discussion, reviews, and ideas which you can contribute and become a part of. Booktubers on Youtube will give us a consistent review online. Fanart and fanfiction will be produced and written. Books are there to be shared and now we can share them with the entire world.
So overall, how do I rate books? Well I can see no downsides to them; they provide entertainment, teachings, and a community, and for that it would have to be 10/10.