Elissa Bassist recently wrote a piece extolling the virtues of books. She suggests the good ones “can make life manageable” and turn a bad day into a good one. But here’s the thing: If this were true, librarians would be some of the happiest people on Earth. I personally know half a dozen librarians, and not one of them is anything close to happy. One of them is named Darryl, and there’s no way someone with that name could be happy. Another one eats dinner alone every night at Wendy’s. Does that sound like a happy person to you?
My point is that while books may help at times, they aren’t a cure-all. Speaking from personal experience, I can tell you that even your favorite book won’t turn things around the day your wife dies. I reread The Diary of Anne Frank twice that night and was still in tears when the sun came up. “Thanks for nothing, book,” I thought, before punching it and then throwing it out the window.
So the next time you think a book will be your friend or help you through some hard times, remember that it doesn’t care about you even a little.