There is No Frigate Like a Book

“You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me.”-C.S. Lewis

Since before I could even read, I was carrying around books with me, staring at the pages, and longing for the day that I would be able to understand the words on that page that brought such magic to my life. I’ve loved reading since before I could read. My mom has a picture of me with an old copy of The Chronicles of Narnia, just sitting on the stairs in our old house and staring at the pages. I didn’t know what was happening on the pages, but I stared just the same. I actually begged her to teach me to read, so she started homeschooling me a tad early. Like I said, I love to read.

Today, my bookshelf is overflowing, and I have a couple overflow shelves on my desk and under my side table, for when I sincerely have no more room for anything but books. The more books I see, the more books I want, and the more books I buy. It’s a mess. I can’t get rid of any books, but I am losing more and more space on my shelves to the books. They’re taking over my room; to be honest, I really don’t have a problem with that. My love for books is a love for stories, and stories are not only a wonderful escape, but also wonderful teachers.

I think there is so much that you can learn from a book. You can learn about the culture of the era by reading an older novel. You can learn about religion and spiritual beliefs from any book. You can learn about different people in different eras and times and places. You can travel to other lands and see things you would never see in your own life. Books can teach good moral themes, and can give us wonderful characters to look up to. Books are a great way to grow in our knowledge of the world.

Life is boring: books are an escape from the normality and monotony of this world. I have always been not only a reader, but a daydreamer. I daydream to escape the boring world that I live in. This world can be pretty slow for someone who craves adventure and excitement. I dream about the fantasy stories I love to read becoming reality. I wish that I could walk out my door one day and see dragons, and fairies, and dryads and fauns and all sorts of magical creatures. I wish that I could go on a fantastic quest with my favorite characters from my favorite books, or even shows and movies. When you’re trapped in the boring monotony of a 9-5 job every day in the summer, and school in the winter, then the only way you can truly have an adventure is books. When life gets you down: books. When you seek adventure: books.

“Reading gives us a place to go when we have to stay where we are.”

Another reason I love books, besides the escapism of it all, is that we have marvelous characters to look at and to strive to be more like. We have marvelous characters to read about that give me hope for our world. If you’re ever disappointed in the human race, just read The Lord of the Rings, or The Chronicles of Narnia, or any such books with fantastic heroes. C.S. Lewis has a fantastic quote that reads

“Since it is so likely children will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage.”

We can look at the characters in novels and see how they faced their adversity, and learn and grow from their experiences. People like Edmund Pevensie in the Chronicles of Narnia (can you tell what one of my favorite books is yet? I’ve only referenced it about 3 times already), who succumbed to the temptation of the White Witch, before realizing that he was wrong, and making a 180 degree turn from being an annoying, self-absorbed brat and traitor to being a very wise, quiet, sensible king known to his subjects as King Edmund the Just. Edmund learned from his mistakes and grew to be one of the wisest kings Narnia saw. Edmund admits to his faults on several occasions, but still does not let them control him: instead he learns from his mistakes, and grows to be a much better person. I believe that his character arc is one of my favorites. It’s a symbol of us as Christians, who were once traitors and enemies of God, now reconciled to Him by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, much like Edmund was redeemed by the death of Aslan on the Stone Table.

I simply love how we can learn from all these magnificent characters, and stories. Every book, every story, every character, teaches us things, whether good or bad. Sometimes you will come across a book that teaches bad things, inappropriate morals that God would not want us to follow, but many books are lovely vessels that take us far away, and teach us wonderful truths about life. Emily Dickinson explained my feelings marvelously in her poem

There is no Frigate like a Book

To take us Lands away

Nor any Coursers like a Page

Of prancing Poetry

This Traverse may be the poorest take

Without oppress of Toll –

How frugal is the Chariot

That bears the Human Soul.

Books truly are the most wonderful vessel at our disposal. If you ever seek adventure, look only to books. They truly are the greatest vessel for escape at our disposal. And God can use books to teach us beautiful truths about Himself and about how we should live. There is nothing quite like a book.


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