“On the surface, reading can seem like a solitary experience. But any reader knows that books open up worlds, make us fall in love, feel less alone, more human, and ultimately, more understood.”
I woke up on a Saturday morning with the usual grab of my phone and a one-two-click down the rabbit hole I go… also known as Instagram. I then came across a post by Eye Level, a recent follow of mine. Caroline Donofrio and Uli Beutter Cohen created Eye Level as a space to celebrate literature in a new and different way, a mutual craving of theirs: “Eye Level is a bi-monthly love letter to all things literary.”
Of all the wonderful ways books have enriched my life, one of the best has been the curiosity it has afforded me. It is intriguing to get into the mind of another person – you gain a lot of insight about the individual, specifically by what they gathered from a book. In the first issue of Eye Level, Isaac Fitzgerald , a book editor for Buzzfeed, is interviewed and when asked what his favourite quote or passage of literature is, he answers:
“There’s this play called The History Boys, and in it, there’s a line where a teacher is talking to young men about what literature can do. He describes that moment when you open a book, and up until then, you thought you were the only person who’d ever had that thought or felt that feeling. Then suddenly, it’s like a hand coming up through the page and grasping yours, and you are no longer alone. That connection, to me, is everything that’s important about literature.”
Girls at Library (GAL), another wonderful space that celebrate “women who read, for women who read”, by peeking into the lives of women discussing their bookshelves and how it has shaped their personalities, personal stories and lives. One of my favourite bibliophiles, Emma Loughridge ,who shares her love affair with books mainly on her Instagram feed and her Tumblr, was featured on GLA. When asked what is the power of story, Emma responds:
I love that, in reading, you can visit a new world and completely immerse yourself in the story, the characters, everything. It’s my favourite escape. If I’m having a bad day and need to check out for a while, I’ll grab my book, leave my phone somewhere and get lost in the words.
Many of my life-changing reads have been recommendations by friends and the complete escapism one experiences from a book is where I find the most enjoyment. For further insight into the rewards of reading watch the wonderful animated essay What is literature for? produced by writer and philosopher Alain de Botton and his team at The School of Life .
Featured Image from my Instagram feed; reading The God of Small Things by Arundhathi Roy.