10 Things I Used To (And Probably Still) Believe About Books

I’ll let you judge which I still believe in.

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A book next to the pillow affects dreaming. 

I fell asleep a lot with the book in my hands. Or I’d get too lazy to get up and put it on the desk. I had the top bunk above my sister, so I didn’t worry about the book falling because of the railing. Eventually I developed a theory that the books were affecting my dreams. Mostly that they were banishing nightmares.

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Books were accounts of alternate universes.

This is mostly wish fulfillment more than anything else. I really wanted books to be real. I really wanted it.

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Liking books made you a nerd (negative connotation).

Back in elementary, people attributed my good grades to the fact that I read books, even if it made no sense at all. (You know how to use a compass to draw circles? Obviously you read it in those fantasy books you’re always reading.)

But I got a lot of flack for it too. I’d read while I ate my lunch, and get teased for it.

Books should be kept pristine.

I’m always shocked and horrified when my paperback cover rips or the spine breaks or if (god forbid) I see writing in a library book.

However, one of my favourite experiences with a book is angrily annotating Harry Potter and the Cursed Child—primarily with lots of question marks, exclamation points, and underlines.

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Only read in hardcopy. 

I have come to appreciate the fact that I can read books on my phone. It’s portable. It has a built in light. It’s significantly cheaper.

Also, audiobooks are a lovely thing. Lesser eye strain. And if the narrator is good, tone and intonation, it makes the experience worth it.

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Books are perfect.

Yes, to quote Hank Green, books are a media that “are superior to most of the media”.

But they aren’t perfect. They’re susceptible to water and fire. They are delicate beings, whose pages are easily torn, bent, or marked. And there are bad books, with bad stories inside of them, or with bad endings.

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You have to finish a book you start.

I wasted a lot of time on books that I thought I had to finish. I wasted a lot of time on series that ended horribly. (Seriously, I should have stopped reading Maximum Ride after the third book.) (I did stop though. Apparently Angel becomes insufferable.)

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The author knows everything.

It took me a while to consider the reader’s end of the reading experience, which is a strange thing to say considering that I am always in the reader’s position.

I think this really hit me when I read an ending that I didn’t like, and started coming up with possibilities for how it could be better. Or when I would come across a superficial character description that I had pictured completely differently in my head. (For a long time I pictured Rosalie from Twilight as a brunette.) The author begins a story, but it is finished by the reader.

And what’s more, the characters start to take over, something I learned when I started seriously writing stories. The writer doesn’t dictate what they are doing, the writer designs a character, puts them in a situation, and then the character screams back in frustration as they work their way through the problem together.

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Books are the best way to tell a story.

(To be clear, I’m not talking about book-to-movie adaptations, but just movies in general.)

Wow, I must really be coming off as a snobbish reader. To be honest, I prefer reading books to watching TV and movies. Sure, it’s easier to sit and watch something, but I have no patience for it. It’s really hard for me to just sit and watch a movie–I need to be knitting or eating or something. Meanwhile, I can spend hours reading a book.

But movies do do some things better than books. For example, action scenes just aren’t the same in books and movies. Words on a page simply can’t catch up with the movement of a fight. I love movie soundtracks, which can capture emotions that words can’t describe.

There’s no such thing as reading too much.

I will never get tired of reading. Never. Even when I’m in my slumps and can’t finish a book, the emotion comes from not being able to do something I love.

I love stories and I love reading and I don’t think that will ever change.

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5 thoughts on “10 Things I Used To (And Probably Still) Believe About Books

  1. I love this list! I initially really liked your idea of all books being alternate universes, but really, do we want some of those dystopia worlds to be out there? And I love what you said about the authors! I’m still struggling with disagreeing with them, but it’s definitely something we should be allowed to do

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    1. Haha definitely! My alternate world theory sprung from my six year old brain, right when I first started reading. Back then it was stuff like Arthur and The Littles. It died quickly when I started reading things with much scarier plots!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ah I love this! As a writer as well as a reader, I am very torn with the whole ‘the author knows everything sort of thing’ because even as I’m writing, my characters come to me with different hair colours than I want them to have!

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    1. I know exactly what you mean! I was writing a sci-fi on genetically modified humans, so stuff like hair colour is super important. While I initially started one character as blonde, as the story kept going, I started envisioning a brunette which for plot reasons couldn’t be the case. Weird, isn’t it?

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Very! I think it is just proof that your characters are coming into their own and that they are actually people-like rather than doll-like 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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