What’s on Your Bookshelf?

Short pin curls dyed in platinum blonde and a classic 1950s casual outfit with Capri trousers and a blouse accommodate a perfect picturesque photo of the infamous Marilyn Monroe. The beloved star not only had a comedic talent that withstands time and an enduring charm that captures the hearts of many, but she also had a collection of over 300 books in her home library. Picturing her with a book in her hand would be surreal; however, the Internet offers countless images of Monroe curled up reading a book.

On April 23, we celebrate World Book and Copyright Day. From the start of the 2020 pandemic, we found ourselves cooped up at home. But books offered an escape from quarantine, allowing us to journey beyond the confines of our homes, as they always have and always will.

“Don’t judge a book by its cover” fits well in Monroe’s juxtaposed persona. Not many would expect the actress to own an intelligent book collection by writers including James Joyce, Walt Whitman, Leo Tolstoy, among many more. Books allow readers to devour a different perspective, to discover a new lifestyle, or to dive into an utmost imaginative story.

We could say the three lessons books offer are to not judge a book (or person) by its cover, to share opinions and create bonds, and to be more tuned in with our imagination and offer an escape into different worlds.

Books offer worlds to get lost in and lessons to learn from after our educational careers are over. Reading fulfills our minds with new ideas and imagination. The human mind is capable of grasping broad concepts and out-of-this-world fantasies, and through books, we have expansive opportunities (and genres) to continuously learn and enjoy diverse stories. Books spark conversations. They allow readers to share their perspectives, creating a new page for new discussions and relationships to build upon.

With smartphones and tablets becoming the go-to reading platform for (pretty much) everything, eBooks and audiobooks have become convenient. Older to younger generations can listen to their new adventure on the commute, read a book right off their phone or tablet on the plane, office and everywhere in between.

Maybe our libraries won’t be as impressive as Marilyn Monroe’s, some of us may only have a handful of favorites we re-read—either way, books connect us to one another when we share our favorite quotes, discuss characters and new insight we’ve adopted into our lives. On this World Book and Copyright Day, pull out your old favorite novel, your sentimental childhood book, or a book that you have been putting off reading and get reading. Share what you are currently reading with friends and family, and you could have the next best conversation with them. Start your own book collection of what you have read—maybe one day, you will have a filled library like Monroe.

Written by Nora Al-Taha