When I was young, I was a fan of time capsules. I would plan on sending letters to my future self reminding in order to remind him (me?) of a variety of things – like preferred college degrees, the things I would like to achieve, and plans for world domination – and store those letters in boxes that will be hidden in some secluded spot so that I can read them later. I liked the fact that I can preserve a piece of what I know – essentially a piece of myself – and transport it to the future without the use of a modified car that needs 1.21 jigawatts of energy to travel through time.
The first form of media that I was exposed to, the books, are similar to those time capsules. They too are storehouses of knowledge, written in the past or present to be used in the future. But unlike my top-secret documents, which only I am supposed to read, books are supposed to be produced en masse and distributed to a wide audience so that they can be read by any literate person who can get their hands on them.
During my early childhood, I did not enjoy the books meant for my age that much. I also found (and still find) some of those fairy tales disturbing. I don’t care how beautiful that corpse looks like, it’s still a corpse and people aren’t supposed to kiss corpses.
As I grew up I learned to appreciate works printed centuries ago, like those by Melville or Poe or Arthur Conan Doyle. My mother introduced the Bible to me, and I continue to read and study it up to the present.
I also enjoyed action and science fiction, but I preferred sci-fi films over sci-fi books since witnessing the firepower of a fully armed and operational battle station is more awe-inspiring than reading about it. It is only now that I am beginning to enjoy sci-fi books more than films, especially after reading some of the novels of British writer Dan Abnett that tells of tales from the grim darkness of the 41st Millennium, where there is only war.
In the closing stages of my childhood I read H. P. Lovecraft’s tomes of eldritch lore. In fact, in the present time whenever I am feeling bored, I would read Lovecraft’s Call of Cthulhu or At the Mountains of Madness. I also read Sun Tzu and Machiavelli in that stage of my life, and they told me that most of my earlier plans for world domination will not work.
I still read books today, and my preferences on which genres to read have not changed much. The only difference now is that I have to spend my own money, so I can buy and read less. I am trying to get out of this sorry state of affairs, and I certainly shall. Soon.
I have often been told that books are becoming obsolete with the advent of computers, and that books will soon be a thing of the past. I find that notion laughable at best. As long as there are people who want to share what they want to the generations that live after them in a manner that has a more dramatic flare to it and as long as there are people who enjoy reading and writing, the time capsules that we call books will never disappear from the pages of history.