In light of Christmas being, well, today, I’ll be babbling a bit about how it relates to our reading lives, and how we must appreciate what home is to us. Christmas, I think, is about a warm hearth and a family gathering.
But I like to think that Christmas is also about home. Not a house, but a home. And home is less a place than it is a set of circumstances. Like being with a loved one, or in a house where you feel fits you like a glove, or lost in an activity that you can always escape to.
Reading isn’t the only thing people go home to. It can be music. it can be a passion, it can be a person, a place, a pet; anything that you can take refuge in anytime, no questions asked, no complications and definitely no judgement of any sort.
So that’s part of what books mean to a reader; they mean you get to spend time in another world, with characters that you’ve known almost as long as you’ve known your own family, and longer than you’ve known some real-life friends, even.
Characters that laugh and cry and get hurt like you do, or that become stronger than you ever thought they could. Ones you’d remember for years and years after you finished that one book.
The fact that words strung together; merely a stack of paper and symbols of ink can achieve communication between the mind of the author, and the mind of the reader to bring images and complex stories to life is only part of the magic. Another part is that two readers, no matter who they are, from where they are, can always bond over a common read. If we could all be reminded by books that the other is just like us, that they love, cry, hurt, think, feel and live just like us, I think it’d be a world with less sexists, racists, homophobes and xenophobes.
Fantasies teach us that monsters can be beaten, romance; that we are not alone, or won’t always be. Historical books; that we must learn from the past. Thrillers; that justice isn’t dead. And we are welcome to escape to any book and find our Hogwarts and our Narnia’s in them.