The book is my friend

Can a book be a man’s friend? It is definitely mine - a faithful and permanent friend, reciprocal in feeling and devoted time. A book is not jealous. Thus, it fulfills one of the basic criteria on which friendship can stand. I was once faced with the dilemma of having to get rid of books that accompanied me for my six years of studies. There were several dozen. I devoured all of the secrets of medical knowledge, deepened my understanding of great disciplines. After forty years these books ceased to have any scientific value, they were no longer relevant. However, I was not able to sell them. If I did, I would feel like a traitor, like someone who wants to get rid of a friend who is no longer useful. I would not gain much financially. But emotionally and morally speaking, I would lose a lot. These medical books are still with me, they fill my libraries. Sometimes I reach for them. I look at the figures and photos and reminisce those years at university. These memories would not be the same had it not been for those books. They allow me to relive my youth.

Fiction is a completely different story. I am not claiming that I have read all the books in my collection. When my life was not so full of responsibilities, so active, I read a lot and quite consistently. Reading as an adult is a festivity. But I am convinced that it will survive. Reading is indelible in me, it is one of those qualities which one does not give up. I don’t want to speak for those who do not read. There are many of them. I would like to mention those who read differently. I sometimes hear people say that a book is bothersome at home, it collects dust. I hear it’s better not to hold onto it, better to pass it on or sell it. Some do not go beyond the realm of e-books. It amazes me. Can a book be their friend? Probably not. They simply want to learn its contents rather than meet a new friend. I can’t imagine making friends with a computer file. I know that the books I have invited into my home are my friends. They accompany me as I go through life. I will certainly reach for them again. Some I’ll be reading for the first time. I fell in love with books thanks to a friend. Our friendship flourished a long time ago, precisely because of books. My friend read a lot, knew a lot, nurtured the wisdom written in books. Like most human friendships, ours did not stand the test of time. Yet, my love of books remains, and this will presumably never fade.


Mirosław Kowalski

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