I don’t just love books, I live in them. The moment I get a fresh one, I run my hands over the cover, feeling the silky newness, and then I dip my nose inside and sniff. Books are worlds made of paper, adventures carved of ink, lives lived through the eyes, and they’re a damn sight better than real life. Ok, I can hear you laughing; I can see that snide smile. So let me explain why books rule, avec bullet points to prove it…
- The sexiest men you will never meet.
The first, most important reason is also the most shallow. In real life, men are as human as we are. They burp, they fart, they pick their noses, they call us fat whilst mistakenly thinking that they have done nothing of the sort. In short, real men have faults, and faults are not sexy. In books, you can let your imagination do all the work, building them up to be demi-gods with furrowed brows and fat wallets. Fictional men don’t even go to the toilet! If they do something unsexy, hey, you can just skip that paragraph, and go straight to the part where he calls you, I mean her, the most beautiful woman in the world. I’m allowed to perve at Mr. Darcy and Angel Clare all I want, without being slapped with restraining orders like in real life, and there’s nothing that Lizzy or Tess can do about it.
If you’re anything like me, your favourite thing is lolling in bed, snuggled up in a onesie, hot chocolate by your side, book in your hands, head in the clouds. Ok, you might not do that exact same thing, but I’m sure you agree that being in a warm, cosy bed is a lot more like happy than being in a thunderstorm, or in the midst of childbirth, or worse, in work. Real life requires you to participate, to move your legs, to pay attention to what’s going on around you, lest you get hit by a bus or eaten by a bear. Books are friends that ask you over for a cuppa and tell you all the gossip without having to be prodded. Books care about you and want you to be warm.
- Attention deficit look! A bunny!
Ok, I am not the most attentive of people. If you’re talking to me and it’s boring, I’m off on grand quests in my head. FYI, my definition of boring is anything that doesn’t involve llamas, Neil Gaiman, Care Bears, sloths, or me. Even if it does involve me, I’ve probably heard it before anyway, so I’m off. Books don’t talk at you and expect you to listen; they lovingly welcome you to flick through their pages. Sure, have a go at chronology, but don’t feel bad if your eyes flutter a bit. If I’m reading Anne Rice and she gets a bit too into her description, I can just turn a few pages and Bam! I’m back in the game. If only real life were so easy. If work gets tedious, I can’t just fast forward to dinner. We’ve all seen Click, and however terrible it was, it scared me into living.
I don’t care how old you are or how much cement is caked around your heart, you will not be able to read The Silver Linings Playbook without convulsing into fits of sadness. Books exist to make us feel. I don’t know how many times I’ve soaked a paperback with my own salty depression, much more than I’ve dropped them in the bath anyway, and that’s saying something for me. Reading allows us to let out all the sorrow inside ourselves in a safe environment. “Why are you crying?” “Snape just died.” “Fair enough.” It makes sense to cry over tragedy in books, whereas in real life, crying over a red number at the cash point, or your crush hanging on someone else’s arm will just make you seem, well, pretty sad. Fiction lets us go undercover, allowing us to pour it all out under the guise of a death scene. And if it gets too much? Just stop reading.
- We don’t need no education
Everything I learned about life was taught to me by Enid Blyton. That probably explains my love of dogs and strange way of speaking, but it also explains my good old fashioned sense of right and wrong. I followed the Five Find Outers and a dog as they got into scrapes and saved the day, I climbed up the Faraway Tree after Moon-face, Silky and Saucepan man, and I had macaroons at midnight in Malory Towers. I did all this and I learned lessons along the way, just as they did. I didn’t have to come from the City of Turmoil in order to never go back. I read the stories and I got the gist. Books let you see all the terrible stuff that can happen to you if you’re not a good boy or girl. They tell you to go through not around, to dust under things, not just on top, and to always, always tell the truth. Got that Pinocchio?
Readers are voyeurs. We are watchers, detectives, nosy parkers. We get all up in other people’s grills and they don’t even know about it. Mwahaha! When, in real life, do you get to read someone’s diary, guilt free, or watch someone having sex in a non-creepy way? Ok, I don’t know what you’re into, or what sort of clubs exist out there, (see my Blyton-esque moral code,) but I know that for me, books are the best way to release my inner curtain twitcher, without any repercussions. Plus, I’d have to be some sort of mind-reader to know enough about strangers in real life to keep me satisfied. I’m not a mind reader, I am a book reader.
I think that what we can gather from this list, is that I am a lazy pervert with ADHD. Maybe all bibliophiles are, I don’t know. I would do a survey, only I just got to this bit in my book, and I can’t put it down, so until I get to the adjective overdose I’m gonna trade life for fiction, because it’s better that way.