Patrick Mc Walter – I cannot over-emphasise the importance of books to me

I cannot over-emphasise the importance of books to me

By Patrick Mc Walter

You either love them or loathe them, but you know you need them. I’ve grown up with them since, well, forever. Books mean a lot to me, and they always have. Maybe so much to make me feel I have an addiction to JK Rowlings’ Harry Potter, causing me to ignore the ticking clock informing me that midnight is approaching, or my addiction would cause me to ignore the ringing telephone beside me, just because of this addiction.

I suppose, it all started when my teacher in Junior Infants would tell us about Insy-Winsy Spider going up the water spout and despite his minute size and significance to some, insy-winsy seems to never have been washed out of the spout in my brain. Growing up, we all have been read children’s books from authors like Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton. These people transported us into a captivating world of the characters’ lives and the story that they have to tell us. But growing up from a young age, I was told about three big bears eating porridge and something about a woman having children in a shoe (??). At a young age, our innocence leads us to believe all of this, our imaginations bursting of stories to entertain us and many to teach us a lesson or two, like not to eat other peoples porridge (Anyways, I don’t even like porridge!)

It is often a time that I have delayed family members from their business, as I lose myself, walking around a bookshop in awe of the vast and exciting selection of books, new and old, just waiting to be discovered. I often just go into a bookshop for the crisp and fresh smell of new books as you inhale the essence of the virtual story that influences your senses. However, my continuous adventures and journeys do not end at the checkout after I exchange my cash for someone else’s work.
No, in the car on the way home from the bookshop, I stare endlessly at the book cover and repeatedly read over the blurb, trying to make sense of the short selection of informative words, and the feeling of that rush of delight down my spine as I open the front cover, expecting me to be transported to the world of the character. I’ve been with the Boy in the striped Pyjamas, Harry Potter at Hogwarts, and with Steve Jobs on his death’s bed answering Walter Isaacson’s question. That feeling of me being a ‘fly on the wall’ on another person’s life story, would give me much greater satisfaction than making me watch people who get paid to pretend they’re “married” on Fair City, however long these marriages do last.

But, (yes, I know, how could there be a ‘but’?) there is another side to these great assets. A side that I think may be Book’s evil twin brother. He’s called ‘text’-book. He may sound the same, but this ‘text’-book is more evil and cumbersome than anything I’ve ever known. From Junior Infants to Junior Cert, they’ve been nothing but a pain on my back (excuse the pun) that feel as if the knowledge of the world is packed into a collection of shiny paper sheets with endless pages of unending sentences. They may be heavy and annoying, but, hey? Would you be without them?

For me, books are important. But books are changing, in my opinion for the better. Books are talking, they’re on the move and they’re coming to life. Books can now travel in my back pocket, along with my so-called ‘library’. e-Books have changed the way books, well, are books. They’ve cut out the bookstore, and replaced it with an iBookstore, that will allow me to with a tap, download the latest charttopper, fresh from the author’s inkwell. In all but two or three years, I now find myself listening to my books and watching videos on ebooks.

I cannot over-emphasise the importance of books to me. For now, I will continue to feed my driving addiction for these creatures, and educate my brain, and continue my free journeys to far off places that I can’t even pronounce.

Patrick Mc Walter
Junior Cert English student,
Holy Rosary College 
Co Galway

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