A Love Reciprocated: What Happens When Books Court Us
Little is as ubiquitous as electricity. Before it’s invention, though, things were quite different. So different, in fact, that it is near impossible to even imagine life without television, movies, recorded music. To say that electricity has changed the world as we know it would be an understatement. After it’s invention, entire worlds ignited, productivity increased, economies flourished, people connected, traveled, and saw through the darkness without the flicker of a candle for the first time. A brand new world emerged.
Now, step down from your thoughts about an existence without ever having seen The Office, and imagine a piece of paper. The process of how it came to be isn’t much different than when it was originally pioneered eons ago, far before there was ever a thought of electricity. Quite simply, a tree is cut, and the raw wood is used to create something called “cellulose.” The cellulose fibers are stuck together with a natural glue called “lignin.” When the lignin is removed and the cellulose fibers are separated and reorganized, voila! Paper can be made.
And with the invention of paper came a means of recording life by use of the written word, which then morphed into what we now know as books. Books were meant to contain wondrous tales, both fact and fiction, that we’ve shared throughout various communities. They’ve given people the opportunity to communicate with other cultures, learn about the past, and speak to future generations. Knowledge is now shared by people of all ages and class divides, all over the world, forming bonds between humanity that had never existed before. It has been a revolution not unlike the one caused by our good friend, electricity.
But unlike electricity and its ever-growing effect on the world, the book hasn’t changed much since its invention. A series of events is described on any number of pages, which the reader then reads, contemplates, understands. Characters are flat, existing only within the book’s binding, unable to move or make their own decisions. What’s written is written— their fate is sealed.
Or is it?
There’s a saying that someone should write a book where the protagonist falls in love with the reader. And until now, that level of engagement wasn’t possible. But I’m here to say that the time is now and it is possible. Reading is no longer a one-way street, but an open playing field in which anything is possible. Books will love you as you do them. They will pine for you and court you. They will draw you in and learn you. They will inspire you and help you grow. They will help you understand the importance of their very nature. And because of their love for you, you’ll grow to love them in a way you never imagined.
And my goodness, isn’t that what being on this wonderful circle of dirt that orbits that hot orange thing is all about? Growth? Sure, we all have a book purist in us that loves the smell of paper and the act of turning the page. There’s something symbolic about it, and the sound alone makes one’s heart go pitter-patter. And to you, I say that there’s still a time and place to live in that one-way relationship.
But for the readers that need a little encouragement, forming an interactive relationship with a book may be the extra push that they’re craving. By feeling in control of the story, by feeling cared for and, dare I say it, loved by the book in hand, readers might come to reciprocate that very love and care for the act of reading.
Once the laws of the written world are challenged, and the relationship between people and books is reimagined, suddenly a light brighter than any bulb of electricity is illuminated. An entirely new world unlike one we have ever known is created, and we begin to realize that the things that we once thought were impossible, are indeed possible.