Ode to Books

I have always loved books. Truly, sometimes books are more loyal than best friends. In many ways, they are.

Always available, always there for you. They understand you, and you try to understand them.

They make you laugh. You cry with them. They are next to you, ready to share an intimate moment any time of the day. They are ready to talk whenever you need it.

Books do not lie. They do not betray. They chose to tell the truth even though nobody asked them to.

Books are not jealous. And you are not jealous of them. They belong to everyone and no one.

Good books leave a mark on you. They become part of your heart. Great books become part of your family.

In so many ways, books are our loyal friends. For some, they become best friends.

So many times I thought this or that person would be my best friend forever. So many times, it did not happen.

Only books can make “forever and ever” truly possible.

My first experience with YouTubing

I have recently started my own YouTube channel, a Booktube (natable books) – yes, it is all about books, reading, and reviewing the new releases in literature! I am both excited and terrified. I have never thought I could have the courage to talk in front of camera and then put myself on display for the whole world (I have 10 subscribers now, 9 of them are my family members, lol).

There are two main reasons I started my channel.

First, as long as I remember myself, I have always been reading. From the very early childhood to my adult life now. Books mesmerised me. I loved getting new books, touching their pages, looking at how words made sense on a page, and diving deep into the stories. Before I always had my mom to share this hobby with. We would read the same books and discuss our feelings about them. It felt satisfying not just to read a book, but also to have someone read it simultaneously with you and discuss all the moments of the story when the impressions are still fresh. I moved away from home long time ago, and even though I constantly talk with my mom on the phone, we do not really discuss the books the way we did before. We have different time zones, different regimes, and even different languages we read the books in (I started reading more in English). Where I live now, I do not really have a close friend who chooses similar books as I do. I wish I had someone to share all the reading moments. So…that is why I decided to find it in the online reading community. It would be great to meet similar readers and thinkers and literally read the same books together. Just like it was before.

Second, I started the Vlog as a chance to tackle my greatest fear – public speaking and being in front of people/camera. I grew up in the society that did not teach the skills of speaking with confidence, defending your position, and being free-spirited and free-minded. When I moved to another country, I understood how the world is different and how it is so much more fun to live a life with no fears or anxieties. Being in front of a camera is one of the biggest fears for me. I often freeze, forget all my words, and cannot think of anything smart to say. It is so much easier for me to write than to speak. But I do not want this to be a part of my personality. I believe you can become who you want to be if you take risks. Right now I am taking a chance and we will see what is going to come out of it.

My YouTube journey has just begun, and I hope it will be an interesting and unforgettable ride!

Link to my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMnQ20MloYorPpKUpp7w-rw

Instagram: @natable.books

what’s your passion?

I think that most people have something they are really passionate about in life. For me, passion lies in books. I love shopping for books, googling new releases, talking about the recently read texts, smelling new books, holding them in my hands, and simply having books in my life. I am genuinely happy when I come across a unique book. It becomes part of me. Sometimes I feel that I consist of bits and pieces of the books, which have influenced my worldview and my identity. And the beauty is that it is a never-ending process: every new book brings something new to my character. But today I do not want to talk about my passion. Rather it is more interesting to discuss the passion I see in people around me.

My boyfriend is really passionate about food. He is a natural foodie and a believer in enjoying life through food. I’ve noticed how his eyes light up and a smile plays on his lips in the following situations:

  1. When in the restaurant, he notices the dish he has ordered is coming out the kitchen and the server is approaching our table to deliver the order;
  2. When in butchery, he sees a beautiful piece of raw marble meat and imagines how this medium-rare steak will taste in his mouth;
  3. When at home, he reads a food blog or watches a YouTube food vlog and finds a new way to cook traditional dishes;
  4. When he pours himself a glass of Malbec and starts improvising in the kitchen while I sit at the bar table and watch this creative process of food transformation;
  5. When he plans the trip to Europe and makes a list of restaurants (instead of a list of museums) we should absolutely visit there;
  6. When we drive around the city and randomly stumble upon a small family restaurant, authentic and original in its method of cooking.

In all these scenarios (and many more), his pupils dilate wider than normal. Food truly makes him excited and happy. Happy the way a child is when getting a new toy from the parents. I see this happiness in him and it radiates so much that I get affected by that. I start looking at food from a different perspective as well: not only as means to satisfy hunger, but as another reason to be alive.

What is your reason to be alive? What is your passion?

Fiction or Not?

Do you think reading fiction is obsolete?

With such an abundance of audio and visual material nowadays, reading itself is struggling to keep its niche. We watch everything. We listen to everybody. It is a visual turn in culture – it is a digital age. During the day, we do some reading: scrolling down news, checking emails, and peeking at social media posts. With so much information intake every day, our brain refuses to keep working at night. We often opt for watching another episode of this new TV show or for aimlessly streaming YouTube videos about cars, fashion, food, or design. It is relaxing and easy. It is what everyone else is doing after a hard day of work, we think.

Reading practice is slowly becoming an endangered species. And reading fiction, particularly, feels almost extinct. Why read fiction? Many people told me that fiction was useless. It does not give you direct practical advice on life. It does not teach you about present realities. It is imaginative and, hence, unrealistic. It is boring. If it is good, it will probably be adapted to screen, so why bother reading it when in a few months, there will be a movie? Recently my boyfriend was genuinely surprised when he heard me laughing my head off while reading a fiction book. It was strange for him to see me peacefully reading a book, having my solo experience, and then all of a sudden cracking up with laughter and breaking the solemn silence of the room. Yes, I told him, fiction can make you laugh. In fact, it can be as funny, if not more, as a TV comedy.

It is sad that fiction does not have the same status as it used to be. Out of my 85 students this semester, only 10 said they were reading fiction occasionally. What about the rest? Very often people do not like fiction books because they had a bad experience before. They might have hated their English teacher, or maybe they were forced to read the books they did not want at school. They might have just picked the wrong book at the store and developed a dislike for literature in general. Or they failed at finding their genre and style of writing. They got disappointed. They did not give it another try.

Fiction literature deserves a chance. Once you find the right book, the right author, and the right moment in life, you will understand the power of fiction. It can give an experience no other medium can. Fiction is only fictional until you read it and make it real for yourself.