Why Books Are An Emotional Elixir

Have you ever read a book, or ten, to which you felt a deep connection? A book in which the story felt much like your own with characters you seemed to know and places that felt familiar?

These are the books that readers tend to love most. Why?

People tend to gravitate towards individuals and art forms, which share or represent their own experience(s). The grounding force for most people is to have a connection with someone or something that makes them feel less alone.

Books are often touted as a means of escape. A literary vehicle that transports a reader to exotic and foreign destinations where resides fascinating characters living exciting but unfamiliar lives. Books are diversions and distractions—both welcome and wanted—from real life.

Is adventure, however, all that readers want? More importantly, is it all that readers need?

Most of us have experienced a trauma or a loss, suffered in a moment or slowly over time. The pain, which can be palpable to us may go unnoticed by others even those closest to us.

Others inability to recognize our grief or share in the understanding of its effects can cause our anguish to intensify. After all, the underpinning of increased emotional suffering is often loneliness.

Books can serve as a significant means to mend one’s heart by providing a source of solace in a shared experience. Discovering a character whose pain is familiar to your own provides you with a feeling of kinship even if only with a person on a page. Having the knowledge that your emotions, fears, and heartache are not unique, but a part of a collective that bonds each of us together is, for many, a powerful elixir for our grief.

After all, the commonality we all share regardless of color, race, or creed is our ability to feel be that pain or joy. The gift of humanity is the ability to communicate and share these feelings, especially through the written word. Beyond the stories and the words, lives within most books—the emotion.

It is a writer’s greatest endeavor to convey this emotion. It is also a writer’s greatest privilege when accomplished because every writer knows that it is then that her book becomes the key that turns the lock in the reader’s heart.

Isn’t that what writer and reader truly seek? A connection, a mutual understanding of the tenuous ties that link us to our experiences and one another.

Books are an emotional elixir because each has the ability to mend someone’s heart, heal someone’s soul, and allow someone to feel a little less alone and, so, a little less in pain.

Thank you for reading. I look forward to your comments.




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About Sherry Parnell