The Power of Books

By Maham Maqsood

I have dug graves; I have ridden carriages with ghosts. I have seen Shams Tabrizi’s plight and sorrow, I have gazed at the Scarlet Letter on a blouse. I have witnessed the rise and fall of Cartel and Mafias and I have chased criminals. I’ve been in the Bardo and have hitchhiked through galaxies. I have lived many lives and have died many deaths. It is not that I have been born again and again but have transitioned into this one life that I am living currently. I believe in the afterlife, but that is a chapter yet to be opened.

Isn’t this confusing? My contradictory statements and the variety of faces I have had, the jobs I have done. I have just entered my twenties. One must wonder how it is possible. But if you read the innuendos in the opening carefully, you must have figured out the answer by now. It’s pretty simple: Books.

Yes! Books are the time-traveling machines, teleporting us through different worlds. Giving us a sight of the future in dystopia or taking us back into a reimagined past. They have become the ultimate tools to learn and move ahead. They are the traditions of Prophets. Soon after the arrival of man, the power of words and language became apparent and a gradual process led to the creation of books. From the era of text written on leaves to the time of inky words on papyrus, they have come a long way and have become the ultimate source of information and learning, making the transfer of knowledge easier not only among small groups but generations as well.

Before getting into the habit of reading books, one’s mind is just on a stale path where there is no intellectual growth or an imaginative thought process. The spirit and soul are unable to surpass challenging boundaries and rely on usual thoughts to go through things. But books change all of that. They train the brain to shift perspectives and discover the hidden meanings in the seemingly usual aspects of life.  Creativity and imagination get a great boost and the development of unique thoughts leads to intellectual maturity. The transforming power of books is undeniable. We become more aware and our judgments start to base themselves on an elevated conscience. We even go through shifts in our attitudes. It could be because of reading motivational stories or self-help books or even living someone else’s life through a biography.

The best aspect is the unlimited genres. There are books for all different kinds of age groups and personal tastes. Fiction leads to imaginative growth as mentioned before, and historical literature gives insight into the defining events or lives of the people of the past. The list goes on and on. This ability is unmatchable and no other element in the universe has such potential. Anyone can enjoy them, for there aren’t any limitations to what one can read. Such freedom is pleasant and exciting and makes a reader happy and even proud.

There are millions of reasons books are considered as powerful. Sometimes, ironically, we fall short of words to describe those. But I know from my personal experience as well as from other readers I know, that books are cherished so much because they provide the shelter to many and become the friend we need in times of troubles and turmoil. To quote John Green, “Great books help you understand, and they help you feel understood.”