OPINION: Travel the world, meet your hero or find solace - books are portals to a world of possibilities

A view of Donegal through the coronavirus crisis and beyond


Where have books taken you lately?

Whether you like to devour novels, browse poetry or be inspired by powerful life stories, the world of books has endless possibilities.

Having to spend time at home is the perfect excuse for some people to indulge their love of reading. Others who have fallen out of the habit are rediscovering the pleasure. And maybe there are people who are exploring the wonderful world of reading for the first time.

I like to have a few books on the go. The bedside table book is the ‘main’ one that I am reading at any given time and this is without exception a novel. It acts like a bridge between my busy daytime life and the peaceful world of sleep. 

There is usually a good biography or autobiography on the coffee table. And in the glovebox of my car, there is always a short story collection for when I have time to kill on ‘Mum’s taxi’ duty. 

So what is so good about reading that it remains a huge industry despite stiff competition from newer, more immediate forms of entertainment?

A good book can take you anywhere in the universe, at any time in the past, present or imagined future. It can teach you about life, culture, human nature, places, the natural world, history and many other things without it ever feeling like a lesson. Getting lost in a book can help you make sense of the world, give you something to draw upon outside your own experience. Or a book can inspire you to change your life, take steps to achieving something great, or give you a mantra to fall back on when you are feeling lost.

A favourite book can also be a trusted, reliable companion in difficult times, reassuring you that some things are exactly as you need them to be.

And in this era of restricted movement, you can travel the world without leaving your home. Recent reads have taken me to Syria, Greece, France, Italy, Argentina, 13th century Ireland, dystopian England, the US, Canada, Norway, Iceland and into the minds of a host of interesting characters both real and imagined. 

If you haven’t read for a while, maybe now is the time to pick up a book and see where it takes you. Enjoy the journey!

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