Books that make you think and feel
This week, remarkably, I finished 3 books almost at the same time.
I was reading different ones in different spaces. There was Steve Jobs’ biography that I got for Christmas, in hardcopy, that I read in my rare spare moments at home, for about a month. While on the bus or train, so not to lug the giant Steve Jobs book around, I was reading Half the sky on my iPad. And just on the weekend I picked a second-hand fiction book, recommended to me by a bookshop guy – High Fidelity by Nick Hornby.
And all three, somehow, came to an end in the space of 2 days. Each on its own is a remarkable work, but finishing them one after each other made me aware how good it feels to be stimulated and awaken by a great book. And I remembered how much I loved reading…
I’ll write my thoughts separately on each book, but what was interesting to see that even though each of them is about a specific area – business, human rights, life crises – they all ended up invoking thoughts and feelings from so many more different perspectives. Steve Jobs’ bio made me think about family, Half the sky about personal values, High fidelity about a place of career in life…
It’s a testament to a great book, I think, that while you read it, and especially after you finish, you feel you have to take some time to stop, and think, and make connections back to your life. A great book will move you, and it will challenge you, and sometimes will make you face an inconvenient truth, and often will spring you to action. Or it will shift you thinking, even if a bit – a big thing for many of us convinced in the rightness of our ideas.
I’m fascinated by the talent good writers have – of breathing life into small black letters on white pages and create strings of words that stir and disrupt us. I’m convinced that storytelling is the oldest, and probably the most important profession, and whatever technology changes our society goes through, there will always be a need and a place for a good story.
I do believe reading good books makes us better people. And having just had the triple-book-thought-explosion, I’m just so happy to be human, and free, with all the intellectual goodness of literature there for me to enjoy and make my own.
Long live the books.
Paperbacks, digital, who cares – as long as we keep reading, feeling, and thinking…