I drive my husband crazy with all the books in our house. I have two shelves full of books, that he swears: “I’ll never read.” That may be so, my sweet dimple-chinned-dumpling, but I’ll die trying. And here’s why:
It took years. It took book, after book, after book to teach me the reason I love them so, is because of everything hidden inside them that I was denied as a child.
Denied books? Yes.
Even more so- denied knowledge. Denied the ability to read a story, fiction or non-fiction, and come to my own conclusions. Denied permission to discover critical thinking via the wonderful world of books. Denied the feeling each child no doubt experiences being swept away in a magical world of “what-ifs,” with each turn of the page.
Being raised to fear- and I mean fear– the coming day of Jehovah, left no time to read anything other than Watchtower publications. Not only were we to read them, but study them; underlining passages to regurgitate at the Kingdom Hall, for approval.
Forget reading Tolkien, Roald Dahl, or C.S. Lewis. These authors were too dangerous for my already controlled mind; a tool Satan and his minions used, cracking open the door to free thinking and imagination.
As I grew older, I got used to closing the door on the books I longed to read. I convinced myself it was no use, and it was too late to catch up to my peers. They were now reading George Orwell, Oscar Wilde and John Steinbeck. Even if it was required reading for AP English Lit, it didn’t matter. I wasn’t in their high honors classes, because Armageddon was coming and what purpose would reading The Picture of Dorian Gray serve? It didn’t fall in line with god’s plan, so its existence must mean next to nothing.
Fast forward to me finally ending my ride on the Watchtower Society’s destructive see-saw; in and out, up and down. Once off for good, I was free, and desperately searching for just one small hint of verisimilitude somewhere in the mirror’s reflection.
Perhaps studying the mirror’s image helped a little. But the books… they helped a lot. Books. Stories. Ideas. They healed me. Words written by ingenious authors covered me like a warm blanket; welcoming me deep into a world I had long forgotten, that I so desperately wanted to be part of.
And there you have it. I love books, all books. Even the bad ones, and poorly edited ones. They make me think, feel, laugh, and cry. They change me in some way, introducing me to a newer version of myself, forced to leave outdated pieces of me behind.
Perhaps that’s what the Watchtower Society and their Governing Body fear the most: sinking so far into the pages of a book they didn’t publish, and meeting a new part of themselves, forcing them to question all they thought they believed. Hmph. Interesting thought for another day…
I’m sorry dear husband, the books- all of them- stay.