Why I Heart My Books

Media creates opportunities; it can give us the chance to shape things the way we like them to be, it can give us ways to be seen and heard, but to me, most importantly, media can provide an escape. I’d say an escape from reality but then the discussion might arise of what reality truly is and whether there still is a real reality. And although that discussion is equally fascinating, it’s not what I want to write about right now. Perhaps it’s better to say that media can provide me an escape from the way I live throughout my days, and by that I mean the daily slur of waking up, getting ready for my duties for that particular day (whether that’s school, work or other activities or responsibilities), doing all that good stuff and then go back to sleep just to wake up again and repeat. I consciously chose the word ‘slur’ because that’s how routines can feel sometimes. I like variety so I find that fixed routines often bore me, but media helps to spice things up. All sorts of media do, but there’s one I’m particular fond of and that is books.

It’s probably not the first thing people think of when they picture media in their head. I suppose you could say it’s a more traditional and old form of media and most people these days associate media with technology and internet and all fun stuff. Yes, I’m aware you can read a book online, but when I say I’m fond of reading, I mean reading a physical book. To me, there’s something soothing and magical about feeling the roughness of the paper, being able to touch the ink with your fingertips and hearing the sound of the pages turning and rustling that swiping on a screen, has yet to achieve (for me at least). That, in combination with the beauty that is language, creates the ultimate escape and safe-zone for me. And language too by itself is of course a form of media. It still fascinates me how our alphabet has only 26 characters, but yet with those 26 characters you can create entire new worlds with entire new realities, people and stories. I believe there is so much power in words and it’s underestimated sometimes. Language is a form of art and by extension, so are books.

Books can appeal to anyone. Even though not everyone likes reading (or they just think they don’t enjoy it but perhaps they haven’t read the right book — and with right I mean a book they can lose themselves in), they might still like the story or the message that is being conveyed.

Books are something to lose yourself in. You can probably tell that I love fiction books, because they can give you an alternate reality so different to your own, an alternate reality you didn’t even know you wanted until you were in it and experiencing it. That’s ultimately what a good book should do: make you forget your surroundings and give you new ones.

Books are so personal too. Recommending someone your favourite can even be scary, because it almost feels like giving away part of your soul. It’s opening up even though you don’t always realise it. Books can shape, consciously or unconsciously, what and how you do, see and think about things. They can play a part in shaping you the way you are. They integrate in your personality.

Books can give you the option to live in more than one reality. I can never get bored.

Yasmine Peeters

Published by deuzemedialife

Mediastudies, University of Amsterdam

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