Books and Stories

Wo ai ni. Wo bu xiang shi qu ni

“I read them all. Every word you wrote. You and I, Tess, we’re alike. We live and breathe words. It was books that kept me from taking my own life after I thought I could never love anyone, never be loved by anyone again. It was books that made me feel that perhaps I was not completely alone. They could be honest with me, and I with them. Reading your words, what you wrote, how you were lonely sometimes and afraid, but always brave; the way you saw the world, its colors and textures and sounds, I felt – I felt the way you thought, hoped, felt, dreamed. I felt I was dreaming and thinking and feeling with you.  I dreamed what you dreamed, wanted what you wanted – and then I realized that truly I just wanted you. The girl behind the scrawled letters. I loved you from the moment I read them. I love you still.”

– Will Herondale
Clockwork Prince
The Infernal Devices, Book Two
by Cassandra Clare

Ever since I was young, around seven or so, I’ve turned to books as a means of escape from the life we had. Reality was not very welcoming, so it was to adventure, magic and tales of faraway lands that I turned to, hoping to lose myself among their many pages. Even now, I always find comfort in books, preferring their comforting presence to the chit-chat of people around me.

I’ve never been a romantic kind of girl, or even a girl-girl. But as always, my heart is captured by well-written articles and novels that tell of how two people meet each other under dire consequences, some even traversing halfway around the world, taking that slim chance to encounter their one true love, then fighting for the right to be with each other, most often having countless obstacles in their way before they can have their happily ever after. These stories move me in ways that I always find myself believing that I too would one day find the person for me, that we would push through whatever challenges life may throw in our way. After reading such a novel, I would always find myself believing, having that delicate feeling like a fluttering butterfly in my heart, too delicate for harsh reality but strong enough to persist in a barren wasteland.

Sometimes I wonder why these feelings would flicker and fade over a course of hours, like a fire sputtering on its last coal. Why I feel that by just believing, everything would turn out so much better than it already is. Then I realize, they are but stories. Meant only to entertain, but still fanning the flames of desire. Like providing an alternative to how things really are. Sometimes I realize that these feelings are too frail, that they are easily swept aside by the truth of life. I mean, sure they’re wonderful, and can touch you, speak to you in a way that you yearn to experience what the characters in the books are experiencing, but they’re just that. Stories. But it doesn’t stop me from wanting to read more. The more I read, the more I want to know what happens next.

True, life itself is a story, and we are its main characters. But when will our life get as exciting as say, those of our favorite characters? When will we feel the exhilaration they feel, the love, the hurt, and most importantly, the sense of just being alive? Is our story written in such a way that readers are bored to turn to the next page? Not all stories are the same, but it makes you wonder just where the authors get the ideas for what they write. What is it about these stories that makes us want to read them so much?

I guess, it all boils down to what the reader wants. It is the reader, after all, who dictates the flavor of his library. The ultimate flaw is our yearning. The desire to live life as we wish it to be, not how we live it. I guess in these books, we get to have a taste of life outside the four corners of our room, to fall in love without the rejection and pain, to have fun without the repercussions. In the end, maybe books are both an escape, and a reality. A friend you can always turn to. Never judging or calculating, but always ready to take your mind off your troubles.

Romance stories alone are never my taste. I always want the story to have a bit of.. magic, adventure, or something else that would definitely turn it to fiction. Though I want to read about the passion one has for their loved one, I guess it just wouldn’t feel real to me, no matter how beautifully it was written. There is always a part of me wanting to believe that yes, they are real, and that one day, the same thing would happen to me. But then, just facing reality would banish these thoughts. It is a cruel world, and things like being swept off your feet doesn’t normally happen to people like us. Maybe, it’s just in a different world where those kinds of things happen, a world that is totally different from which I live in.

It’s what makes me want to read books so much, their promise of a different land, a different story from which I am living. The thrill of adventure, the sense of accomplishment, indecision, heartbreak, things I’ve experience through books. All this time, I always turn to books when I can’t stand something, or just when the world is too much for me too handle. Books are my sanctuary.


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