This quote has been on my mind the past few days. I’m currently re-reading The Dovekeepers, and it’s books like this that always remind me of why I love reading so much. When I’m done, I’ll post another review with more discussion about some of the themes in the book. But for now, let’s just talk about how amazing books are.
This is why I’m thankful for books:
1. A book can change everything.
It’s the motto of this blog because I really believe that. Just take a look at this list of 50 books that changed the world. Remember how Uncle Tom’s Cabin changed the heart of a nation? Or how Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary ensured that English speakers would have a common way of communicating? Some books are so threatening or dangerous, that people ban them or burn them.
2. A book can teach me something new.
I would say almost every book I read teaches me something new. That’s one of the many reasons I do it. I love learning. When I read The Paris Wife, I learned more about Ernest and Hadley Hemingway than I knew before. Reading American Wife taught me about some important events in Laura Bush’s life. I had never even heard of Charles Lindbergh before I read The Aviator’s Wife. And I didn’t know anything about Moby Dick before reading Ahab’s Wife. The Literary Wives series has been an education in itself!
3. A book can help me empathize.
Probably the most important thing books can teach is empathy. When you read a book, you choose to see the world through someone else’s eyes for a while, and that’s a powerful experience. Sometimes, looking at someone else’s situation—even if that someone is a fictional character—can help you see into your own. Adam Bede taught me a lesson about beauty. Crime and Punishment helped me see how common the desire for greatness is. Whether I’m empathizing with villains or heros, that fellow-feeling is something I always treasure while reading.
4. A book can be a friend.
I realize I’ve never actually written a review about Jane Eyre, even though I talk about it all the time. (I’ll have to fix that soon!) But you can read my About page. That book has been a friend to me. And I’m discovering in The Dovekeepers another good friend. The Dovekeepers might be a runner-up, or even a contemporary favorite!
5. A book can bring people together.
Some of the best conversations I’ve ever had have revolved around books. When I was lonely in Portland, I felt happy and alive in my book club. One of my best friends, Amanda, and I met because of a book. As a freshman in college, I got to my Exodus-Deuteronomy class early and was reading Gone With the Wind. When Amanda came in and saw me reading, she started conversation, telling me that GWTW was her favorite book. And we’ve been best friends ever since! And then there’s the Literary Wives series. Each one of those bloggers has become a friend to me, and I’m so very thankful to have them in my life.
Head over to The Junia Project today to see a few more things I’m thankful for.