I have 31 books stacked up high on my desk in my bedroom. The collection varies, including the sparkling vampire saga that is Twilight (Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn), yes I got sucked into the teen sensation when I was seventeen, the intricately woven world of Lisbeth Salander in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo trilogy (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest) and a man’s quest to Hell and back that changed the world’s perception of the afterlife forever, Dante’s Inferno trilogy (Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso)…Oh what the hell, I might as well mention all the other books I own while I’m at it.
I own the following: A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess, American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis, Of Mice & Men by John Steinbeck, Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk, Dracula by Bram Stoker, Let The Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist, Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay, Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr, The Shadow Thieves by Anne Ursu, The Devil In The White City by Erik Larson, IT by Stephen King, Flowers + Filth and Prose & Poems by Wil Francis, Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas and The Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thompson, Most Loved Poems Of The American People, and Edgar Allen Poe: Complete Tales & Poems, not to mention the trilogies and saga I noted in the paragraph above.
The fact that I have a bunch of books isn’t really what’s important though. What is important is where would our society be without them?
You’re probably asking how this question arose, and as always, I have an answer. I recently purchased three Ray Bradbury novels, The Illustrated Man, Fahrenheit 451 and Something Wicked This Way Comes. I’d read Wicked when I was thirteen for a school project, and fell in love with it…Whenever I thought about the book in the past, I thought about my grandpa and it’s safe to say I still do. Despite the fact he himself never read the novel (as far as I know), it reminds me of him. My grandpa and the Fall season, along with everything the wonderful season brings. I began reading the novel in Autumn, when I would see him everyday after school, via the too-obvious connection, but I won’t go into too much right now because that’s not the subject at hand…Strangely, I had never read Fahrenheit 451 but it thought I would broaden my horizons. Plus it got awesome reviews, and come on, it’s Ray Bradbury. The story sounded oddly familiar, like one I had my freshmen year, but it was quite different as I read on.
If you aren’t familiar with 451, it tells of a futuristic world where it’s a fireman’s job to start fires instead of extinguish them, burning books, the written word banned by the government. The main character, a fireman who becomes conflicted with everything he thought he knew and all the things he discovers along the way. I won’t give anymore away, but the book had me thinking: Where would we as people be without books?
Being an avid reader since I was fourteen, I honestly don’t know where I would be without books. Books are a great way to pass the time, and depending on what you’re reading, can be a whole lot more entertaining than what’s on TV. They open the door to another world, introducing you to characters that while are fiction, are somehow strangely individuals we can all relate to. Without books, this world wouldn’t be as interesting. Without books, we wouldn’t expand our punctuation and grammar, something that is, believe it or not, pretty important. Without books, we wouldn’t be able to learn about the triumphs and tragedies this world has faced, and see how much we’ve evolved since. Without books, people just might become mindless drones that watch TV 24/7, unable to grasp the possibilities of the written word. Without books…I know for sure I wouldn’t enjoy a world like that.
Next time you pick up a book at your library or from your collection, ask yourself: Where would we be without books? The answer might just amaze.
The written word is your escape from the every day, a safe haven when your own world isn’t.