Imagine a friend that talks to you whenever you want her to, and listens to you, and tells you stories, takes you away from the hustle bustle of daily life. Sometimes you are close to her and close you are to your thoughts, and you realise that you understand her in a unique and personal way. There are other people whom this friend knows, and through her you also come across new people, get to know about their ideas, learn what they think, and maybe make a few new neural connections, forcing you to look at life and people around you in a whole new light.
While such a group of friend is usually hard to find, I believe that well written books can fill up this need well. I’m not talking about some science tome – those are dead books, and just like thoroughly logical person, those aren’t liked by a lot of people, I am talking about books which carry with them stories, amazing ones which force you to lose yourself into the characters’ lives, to travel to their world, and to exotic locations with them; books which introduce some of the most fascinating characters you’ve come across, or the most witty – whose dialogues make you smile or laugh out loud, forget all your pains and worries; or sometimes to characters which repulse you, or make you cringe by their dialogues, decisions or way of life.
Just like real world, a book has in itself another world, an alien one, which is just filled with characters, human or otherwise and everything is just at an arms length, or less. You move to different places, to exotic locations, from the forests of amazon to the snow laden peaks of arctic to the deserts of Sahara and the prairies of north Africa, or sometimes to another planet, or galaxy altogether where you meet alien life, or our own robust human brethren who have settled there a few millennia before. With that you move around in time, or meet people who do move around in time. You realise how one world is destroyed and also how one was created a few thousand years ago. These worlds, and characters – human or alien, leave on your intellect a mark which you carry for the rest of your life.
And this is the reason I say that books are alive, while not in the absolute meaning of the word, but at least metaphorically; and in some cases more alive than some of the people we meet in our lives.