Not everyone is a reader. For a long time I wasn’t. Reading is a hobby and all readers have their own individual reasons behind why they read. For me, I came across the right book, the one that changed me and made me realize the reason I read. I read a book not because I enjoy the story line or because I need something to help me pass time. I have Netflix for that. I also do not read because I find it relaxing because with the language some author’s use, it is far from calming. I have never, nor will I ever, read English Literature and be relaxed and feel as if I understood the story after one read through. I read for the moral. I read for the theme. I read for the feeling after when I understand the lesson the author is trying to teach me. When I realize something about life and the meaning it holds. Not every book gives me that feeling, hence why I don’t feel as if I can relate and understand every book. But some books do and that feeling is worth searching and threading through hundreds of books to find the right one.
The one for me was Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. I came across a quote from it on Tumblr and was hooked. It reached me on a level no other book did before. Vonnegut knew exactly what I was thinking and it was as if he answered a question I did not even know I asked. The quote was: But she did look back and I loved her for that because it was so human. That was it; right then and there I knew I had to read that book. This quote may do nothing for you. It may not even make sense or relate to you on any level. But to me, it spoke on the imperfection of humanity. How we all look back. We all look to the past and our mistakes and our faults. Orpheus looked back to see Eurydice, Lot’s looked back on his wife, and we look back on our decisions every single day. We are all so human and we should find comfort in that. That we all look back. It is not just you or just me; it is all of us. We all look back. And I felt all of this before I even read the book. The book, well that is a whole other revelation in itself.
“But she did look back, and I love her for that, because it was so human. So she was turned into a pillar of salt. So it goes.” — Kurt Vonnegut (Slaughterhouse-Five)
So I urge you to search for your book. The one that opens your eyes to the wonder of reading. The one that helps you reach that feeling that I cannot explain in words. The one that makes you feel as if you gained a million years of knowledge and experience from its’ words of wisdom. I cannot tell you what book will do that for you, but I can tell you it is out there. Just because you like science fiction does not mean that the one will be science fiction. Just because you like nonfiction does not meant that the one will be a biography. And just because you like fiction does not mean the one is a made up story. But it is out there and if you give it a try and you look through the heaps and the stacks of books, you will find it.
I read for the moral of the story. Slaughterhoue-five taught me that we are all the same in one-way or another. It taught me that the world will turn and the seasons will change, regardless of what happens to me. That may sound negative, but it is not. It just shows that my problems are really not that big. They are really not Earth shattering, life-stopping problems. They are blimps in my path and they will pass. Because regardless of what happens to me when I am in a bad mood or have a bad day, the world will still turn and the seasons will still change. Everything will continue just as they did before, regardless of what happens to me on that hard Monday. So in the grand scheme of things… it will all be ok. That is why I read.
Originally published at medium.com