My favorite fairytale is the story of the poor boy, Jack, and the beanstalk. The story starts with his mom giving him a cow to sell to make ends meet. On the way to the market, he trades the cow for five magic beans. His mom gets angry that there is no cold cash in his hands. Ironically, these magic beans lead them to a giant’s home, where they find golden coins and eggs.
Books are just like magic beans. And in every person’s path, one comes across unique bookshops. On good and bad days, I brought home a book or five. No paycheck made me as happy as a newly purchased book. I relished the smell and stains of paper. But there is nothing better than finding a secret note or a scribble in between pages. It’s a story within a story.
The truth is there is no better invention than a book. Bookshops measure the greatness of a city. The willingness of people to read and learn determines a well-educated society.
In a recent video interview with Barack Obama for International Bookstore Day, Richard, a bookshop owner, asked him, “How on earth did you get some reading done, that sort of reading you would like to do while you were President?”
Obama replied, “The thing is I’m a night owl. And what I found that having 45 minutes to an hour to be able to read something for me before I went to bed helped to reset me and also help to sort of extend my perspective beyond the narrow set of headaches that were staring me in the face.”
Reading can only be experienced by humans. It can be an escape or a reality, but mostly a pleasure. So, the next time you get offered some money or a cow, think like Jack. Trade it in for five books. Like the magic beans, they will give you wealth, solace, and above all, hope.