I have the tendency to buy a book and to bring it with me wherever I go. I will have it in my GAP bag that I bought in New York last year, my schoolbag, in my hand, on my lap. Because I like to hold on to books before I read it, and to keep it close to me after I have read it. I don’t buy books though, I adopt them. I now have besides my human family, also a family of books residing in small little rooms of my bookcases. I can’t stand having to see folds in the papers, wrinkles on the back, pages torn out or food or drink marks on them, most of the books look new, they smell new, and they technically are new when I re-read them again. I always have my hopes high before I have even read the first chapter, I will have read the blurb on the back of the book and fantasize around it. I don’t want that image to fade, that idea that I get when I have it with me. That’s why I carry it with me, to be close to it, to remind me that the stories aren’t just in my head, but written on paper. Sometimes the actual stories turns out to be better, more organised than my thoughts. Sometimes they do not reach my high standards, even though it is an amazing book.
I also love to smell the books, especially of fresh books. The smell of paper can bring me to wherever I want. If the smell of paper is the same as paper I smelled somewhere in Italy, I am back in that place for a moment. Sitting on the promenade of the town with an ice-cream in my hand, my book placed on my lap and my backpack next to me. The sun warming my face and blinding me when I open my eyes again and look over the lake and the boats parked on the steep cobblestone boat parking lots. I will smile and remind myself of the memory.
The book that I have been dragging around with me for the past 2 months is “The fault in our stars“. I had it with me for a month before I dared to open it and read it. I finished it last month, in two days, and in the next month I re-read it four times. The words in “the fault in our stars” are so true to real emotions, people and relations, that they appear unreal. Only with the third time reading it I realised the beauty of words that were describing things like death, waiting for death, pain, love, happiness and life, they started to sink in like an anchor that is being let down in the middle of the Atlantic ocean, it takes a very, very, very long time before it reaches the ocean floor. When I read “the fault in our stars”, it reminds me of spring and summer, everything is green, birds are chirping, flower buds are clicking and a warm summer breeze is flowing through the air. There’s a blue sky with perfect little clouds during the day, and a cloudless, star-gazing sky at night. I think of Amsterdam too of course, since the main character travels off to Amsterdam. Ah Amsterdam, with its canals where the houses are painted black, white and brown, with red roofs, trees with grey and white trunks and lemon green leafs that stand along the canals with in between them parked cars and bikes. The green-brownish coloured water with living-boats and the small cozy shops with many colours and diverse products where many of my friends in Holland like to pay a visit to at least once a month.
The words in “The Fault in Our stars”, they scare me. While at the same time they make warm inside of happiness and realisation of reality. Yet also the words, or rather the thought of words, in the books where I enchanted my spells of high-expectations on, scare me. They scare me because those words can confront us with life, love, pain and death: things I didn’t think about yet from the perspective of the written piece until I read it. Yet as soon as we close the book with those words, there are other words that come on our path, languages, spoken words, politics, school. Words can tear people, nations and even ideas apart, yet even more often it bonds, inspires and helps. Because of this I see words as world’s most powerful tool and weapon.
Think about what you want to say with your words.