Books were my window on the world. Growing up at the Elephant and Castle, which was very rough, my paradise was the library.
And what about friends? There are friends that you see very often, friends that you keep in contact very rarely, friends that even if you don´t see them, when you meet them is like you have been always together, male or female friends, older or younger, more or less clever, with different backgrounds, with different motivation, education, families. Friends with different type of problems, with different thoughts and ideas, with different opinions, friends who see you from different points of view, friends that are more or less successful, friends who are more or less happy, friends who talk more or less, friends who live in different towns, with different level of generosity or selfishness, friends who you have spent more or less part of your life with, friends you have shared your childhood, your teen years, your schooling...
Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend - or a meaningful day.
We can do some funny analogies between books and friends:
For example a thick book, with a lot of pages could be a talkative friend.
A book with jokes could remind us a friend that always is joking and with good sense of humor.
A book about DIY could remind us a friend that is very handy.
There are many examples to think about...
On the other side, we could think about a friend that does not care about his image and think what type of book he could be.
What type of book could be a friend who is always optimistic, positive, encouraging?
There are friends who we keep in contact often, the same way that there are books that are close to us.
There are important friends that we keep in contact once in the while. What type of books are these?
There are books that can be more friendly, easy to read, with a friendly tone, with useful information.
There are books that can share with you the emotions of experiences around the world.
There are friends that they are very helpful and very good listeners... sometimes you can find books that you think that are saying things that you have thought about before.
Recently I was tidying my accommodation and thinking about giving away some of my books as the place is so cluttered. When I started thinking about which ones to give away, I started thinking about which ones I would like to keep. There was an interesting thought about it. The books that I wanted to keep maybe they are not the ones that are the best ones, but the ones that have a more important meaning attached by me. Maybe these are the books that I read many years ago and had a great impact on me. It is like the books become a part of me, not only because of what is written on them, because of the history that we have shared together, the experience of ideas flowing accompanied by emotions, opinions, experiences and questions.
The relationship between a book and its reader can be something very especial. Even when the reader has been the author of that book. For some reason, during the creative process of writing, there are ideas that can be very interesting and that the writer is not fully aware at that time. Thinking about books and friends, it seems that when you are writing something is like if you are writing something to a friend, who is yourself and at the same time that you are writing, yourself is reading, listening, absorbing the ideas and generating automatically more thoughts.
Thinking about books and friends, it can be highlighted the importance of reading and listening skills. Reading can be done in a fast or slow way, paying attention to details or flying around knowing what is the topic about. Reading can be done with the intention of learning or with the intention of feeling and enjoying. When somebody is listening, it can be listening without paying attention or listening trying to understand not only the sentences, but why they are said and how, the matching with the body language, the emotions or thoughts that are behind the words. The intention of the listener can be just a sounding board to help the friend to better thinking by reflecting, summarizing and asking open questions to check understanding at the same time as encouraging the other to talk.
When thinking about which books to give away and which books to keep, we could think that we could be a business owner having to decide which staff members to keep due to redundancies. There are many different type of people, and besides other considerations, I would prefer to keep the ones that have something unique to contribute and at the same time the ones I get on well with.
The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest minds of past centuries.