A house without books is like a room without windows

‘A house without books is like a room without windows’
Heinrich Mann

There are so many quotes on books that I deem true, but in the end I chose this one, because there is so much I can say about it.
I love reading. It probably goes together with my love for writing. Ever since I was little I read a lot. It was a habit I picked up from my older sister, but eventually she gave up reading while I just kept on going. I love reading basically anything. I love reading a classic like Anna Karenina, but I enjoy reading the Cosmo just as much. However, reading is not always easy for me. There were times when I had to force myself to keep on reading, for example with Anna Karenina. It is such a famous book, and it’s a wonderful story, full of drama, but sometimes a good storyline is just not enough. I had to really push myself to not give up, because of all the characters. After trying to read it two or three times, I finally found the solution: I printed a list of all the characters with a short description and kept it with me at all times, so whenever I had a free moment I could study them and learn who they were. But in the end I managed to get to know every single one of them, and finishing the book gave me the most wonderful meaning.
I am also a great fan of the Harry Potter series. The characters are just marvelous. From the first page of ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’ up until the last page of ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’ they developed themselves from mere eleven-year-olds to grown adults. I believe that when you work so long on a series of books, it is very likely that as a writer you can lose control of your characters. This may sound weird, but at a certain point J.K. Rowling developed this whole person, with good and bad sides, and that must have influenced her writing. At a certain point, you stop thinking ‘What would I have Harry Potter do next’ and start thinking ‘What would Harry Potter do next’. And that right there is the wonder of writing. A whole new world on paper opens up, with persons who are actually nothing but ink and paper, but still feel so real.

I like the thought of comparing a book to a window. When you open a window, you can breathe in the fresh air and clear your head from whatever you’re worrying about. To me, it’s the same with a book. I can allow myself to get lost in the storyline, in the characters, and sometimes I can identify myself with them, with the way they handle problems or how they search for happiness. And sometimes, when I’m not thinking about how to solve a problem anymore, the solution pops into my head. Reading a book is for me the same as doing sports. It allows me to clear my head and not think about anything but reaching my goal. When reading, the world around me disappears. And I think everyone needs something like that, something which makes the world disappear. So we can take a deep breath, clear our heads for a while and then resume life with renewed energy. I find this among others in reading, others may find this in running, swimming or even skydiving.
To me the key to being social is to have some time for oneself. This may sound like a paradox but when you have time for yourself, you have the chance to do what you want and to blow off some steam when necessary. When you have the time to think about yourself, it’s easier to compromise if necessary. And compromise is absolutely necessary if you want to be social.
So I urge everyone to take some time for yourself, and that way you will find time for others as well.

 

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