Can Books Be Called Our Best Friends?
Books have been used as the major means of storing information for centuries now and, although nowadays they gradually give way to digital data carriers, they still remain our best friends for the reason that they may be outdated as physical objects, but not as a concept. After all, they haven’t been printed on paper for the entirety of their existence; in the past, they knew other, quite different forms: they were hand-written on parchment, kept in papyrus scrolls, chiseled on stone tablets. The alteration they are undergoing now is just more drastic than any of the ones that had been in the past.
And “to read a book” may now have meanings completely different from what may appear in our conscience, it is still reading a book. One reads a book on the screen of a computer, or a laptop, or a portable reading device, or listens to it via iPod – but it is still a book, and it is still read.
What makes a human a human? Language, knowledge, information. No other being known to us can store any kind of knowledge outside its own brain – so, books are not only our best friends, they are one of the best proofs of our existence. They let every single human know everything that has been known by other people, those who have lived long ago and now are dead, those whose very names we know no longer. They unite the humanity into another form of being, universal and eternal.
For me, a book truly is the best friend as I love reading and feel myself a part of something bigger when I run eyes over classic and modern masterpieces. I’d like to tell you about my best book-friend – The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan.
Actually, The Wheel of Time can hardly be called a book – having started in 1990, this series isn’t finished yet and now consists of 13 volumes with the final, 14th, due to be released next year. Thousands pages of text, almost 2000 characters (all carefully counted up by fans), hundreds of elaborated descriptions, a strange and peculiar world described in minute detail – all these are the iconic qualities of one of the most imposing fantasy epics ever written.
Initially considered to be finished in six books, The Wheel of Time went out of its author’s control and continued to expand. Jordan mentioned that when he was writing it, he was inspired by War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, and one can easily believe it – the plots and subplots keep interlacing all the time, creating a very unusual, although very prolonged reading.
Robert Jordan did not manage to finish his work – he died in 2007 while working on what was supposed to be the final novel of the cycle. Now his job is continued by another writer, Brandon Sanderson, who bases his writing on the Jordan’s notes.
This epic may serve as an excellent example of a book acquiring a life of its own – Jordan created a world that looked extremely real and seemed simply unable to part with it by finishing the series. The pace of action went slower and slower, the number of characters grew, as well as the number of descriptive passages and, as a result, one of the most popular fantasy writers of our time was unable to lead it to a logical end.
Yet, all the same, it is still one of the best fantasy works in existence and my very best friend.