Why do we read? Why do we dare to crack the virginal spine of numerous novels like serial fiends? Why do we pile books in our rooms into towers of parchment and ink and dust and dreams? Why…? We are addicted. Like a shot of caffeine straight to the bloodstream, musk and yellowing pages or sheen and clean margins thrill us. Books entice a primal nuance of our souls: a subtle, ingrained instinct towards imagination and intellect. Like a skilled barista who can taste the origins of certain roasts by inhaling the aroma of silky steam rising from the pot, a ravenous reader understands the complex lives brewing within the fragrance of ink, authorial passion and dust that clings to a novel. Heady. That is the perfect word for the high that consumes our minds, chaining us to chairs and funky mugs of creamy coffee as we read, read, read, read…
I read because it allows me to escape. A magical machine reveals itself inside my mind, sparked to life by a single sniff of fresh brew mingling with the smooth feel of untouched, literary territories. I crawl beneath a bohemian blanket and am whisked away to all sorts of vast dimensions and worlds and historical periods. More than the simply story itself, reading is the transfer of my mind and soul into a pristine, un-navigated existence. I crave, I yearn, I would snarl and ignore smelly dishes in the sink to run away to these places, these fantasies carved into existence by a crafter’s wielding of the proverbial pen.
Plus, there is that smell. You understand. I love to wander the halls of my local library, gently trailing my fingers along the shelves till a title pops out at me. I open it straight to the middle, stick my nose deep inside and inhale as though I could breath the story into my soul. It works too. The scent leaves a lasting impression. The ink, the musk, the curling corners cry out to me. They say, “Read me! Fill your mind, your body, your spirit with my words! I can touch you in ways you have yet to understand.” They never lie. I have lived a thousand lives and plan to live a thousand more before I die. Rarely do I leave behind a work of literature with the feeling in my gut: “You have betrayed me.”
Over the years, I have hesitantly come to admit that books do not begin as the well-loved, fraying staples we spend a decent percentage of our monthly checks on for binging purposes. They begin as any good novel should: an infant treasure yet unearthed. There still remains the opportunity to pop the proverbial cherry. But…how do we know (why would we dare) to open a newblet novel in the first place? It is very tempting to simply judge a book by its cover, and for some of us (including myself) – who struggle to carry our arm-loads of books to the check-out counter each Saturday – a quick glance at a title, cover or blurb on the back is all it takes to confirm our purchase.
Musing over this process of inconsiderate aisle-hunting ignited an idea in my mind.
You know and I know that we should never judge a book by its cover alone, but (as shameful as it is to admit) that is exactly what we do! This is a travesty. I lingered before a row of books one Saturday afternoon. A particularly awesome used-book sale was in full swing, and typically, I stared at the array of titles printed in colorful fonts: lost in thought. “What if my life was one of these books?” I thought, “Would I want other passionate people to touch my spine, check out a tiny blurb about me only to toss me in their basket with merely the possibility of my being able to transform their lives?” No! I would want them to dig deeper, absorb my pages and become forever changed by experiencing a memory with me. I would not want them to simply judge me by cover, but to have already been sure that escaping with me for a few hours a day would be worth-while, adventurous, memorable. First, they would have to get to know me. But…how can a person get to know a book and decide whether or not they want to indulge in a particular fantasy by only reading the cover?
With this blog, I am inviting you to no longer judge a book by the content of its pages, by the heart that beats within. No longer enter a foreign world unsure. Allow me to flip the pages. Allow me to confirm that the journey is worth the trip. Allow me to expose you to dangerous worlds, to encourage you to leap into swampy waters, to entice you to follow the woman cloaked in black. Allow me to introduce you to genius minds who by clacking their fingers in a rhythmic dance across keyboard keys dreamt an alternate life. You, my beloved readers, may now indulge without fear of betrayal. Explore with me genre after genre of marvelous reads as we enjoy our coffee in funky mugs and listen to off-beat tunes on our iPods.
Welcome to The Funky Mug! Let’s read!
~ Rachel Lynn