Why I think books make us more human
The stories I discovered in books changed me as a person. Here’s why I think books make us more human
Reading turned into one of my favorite activities over the years and the stories I discovered in some of them changed me as a person. Here's why I think books make us more human.
Books make us understand ourselves
I think that most personal experiences help us develop as individuals and learn from mistakes. Life experiences of every kind are necessary: they grow us. But besides them, books can have a huge impact on our mind and soul. Research published by The English Journal says that ‘We may hypothesize that the impact of reading is determined by the situation in which the reading is done, by the reader’s expectations or set, by his overt purpose for reading, by his conscious or unconscious needs, by the personality traits or patterns which affect much of his conduct, and by combinations of these factors.’
Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman was a great discovery to me. Emotional intelligence is sometimes even more important than IQ as the psychologist says, needed in most life situations when it comes to our own experiences and interactions with other people. It's a big part of us. Starting from childhood, emotional intelligence can be shaped early in life according to how parents choose to raise their kids: their reactions towards them, the environment, etc. Later, it can be difficult to be improved. This book helped me understand my own emotions and understand more about them in certain situations.
Books reveal different life situations
A few years ago I lost someone close. It was a hard moment and I've found my comfort in reading:
'I divide all readers into two classes: those who read to remember and those who read to forget.' — William Lyon Phelps
In my situation, I chose the lather. At that time, I started reading A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. It's a book about a monster made out of drawings that appears at night, telling stories to a boy and making him confront what he's going through. From fiction to reality, it was a story that I related to, it made me understand my emotions and accept my feelings towards my own experience.
“You were merely wishing for the end of pain, the monster said. Your own pain. An end to how it isolated you. It is the most human wish of all.” — A Monster Calls
This illustrated book is filled with learnings and it ended up in my arms at the right time.
Book recommendations can make people more open-minded
I remember the first time I read a book for pleasure, besides some of the books in the high school's curriculum. It was one of Paulo Coelho's books. Then I started reading a few romance and fiction books. Only after many years, I started to discover more genres. A few recommendations came from the outside.
One day, a good friend recommended to me And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie. I remember that I couldn't put the book down, that's how much I liked it. Even though I have previously heard about the author, I didn't get to her reads until that moment. From then on, I discovered other fascinating stories about the famous and witty detective Poirot. After exploring Agatha Christie's books, I also looked into the thriller/detective genre and discovered even more captivating reads that kept me awake at nights. Into the Water by Paula Hawkins or The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson soon became favorites.
Book recommendations made me more open-minded towards other genres, but it helped me open up even in other aspects of my life. It helped me try things I never did before and be receptive to other bits of advice more often.
Book-related experiences can connect people
Three years ago, I went to London and one of the first things I wanted to do was going into a Waterstones bookshop. The minute I entered into the huge bookshop on Notting Hill, I felt a rush of excitement and I immediately saw the new releases section, right at the entrance. The book highlighted was Black Water Lilies by Michel Bussi, the paperback edition. Since I'm a thriller lover, I've stopped there to read the synopsis. To my surprise, one of the bookshop staff was there to arrange books on the shelf and stopped to ask me if I usually read this genre. At first, I was surprised by his question. I said yes and then he recommended this new thriller release. He even shortly described what it was about and said is one of the best books he has read lately.
A few months later I've managed to read that book and loved it. I always remember that moment in London, when a stranger recommended me a book and I thank him for that. These small things have an impact upon people and can bring us together in surprising ways thanks to books.
Borrowing books can open up conversations
Every time I meet new people and found books a common subject, I've ended up talking endlessly with them. At some point, recommendations turned into borrowing books and later on, started new conversations, subjects and built a common connection between us. As a conversation-starter, borrowing books build relationships in time and some of them might turn out quite nicely.
Books develop empathy
I think that the more you read, the more you understand. When people's stories don't reach us due to different reasons, books are there to help us. Maybe reading a certain book comes at the right time, atthe right moment. Or maybe it comes when you least expect.
Life after Auschwitz by Eva Schloss is one of the stories that opened my eyes to other people's experiences. Real experiences in this case that affect them long-term. Eva Schloss was Anne Frank's sister-in-law and one of the survivors of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. It's filled with details of her experience during that time. By the end of the book, she got to tell her story to the world by going to conferences and schools, talking to children. At one of her seminars, a girl asked the author: Is this going to ever happen again?
From heart to heart, from human to human, I can tell you that books made me a better person. All the fantastic worlds I've dived into made me as creative I can be, loading my mind and soul with imagination and filling my blank pages with ideas. All the historical books I've read made me understand people more and discover the past as it is. Finally, those non-fiction stories made me more empathic towards people, accept the good and bad sides of life (besides personal experiences), and started conversations when there was nothing to say.
Pick up a book, open your mind and soul, lose yourself into the most wonderful stories out there. There are so many worlds that need to be discovered.