Today's guest blogger is Neil Pasricha, author of The Book of (Even More) Awesome (Penguin). Neil has found more than 1000 awesome things to fill this book—but none of them are more awesome than books. He shares more about his love of reading in this post! Tell us what you think is awesome about books in the comments.

Hi everyone!

My name is Neil Pasricha and I’m a 31-year old guy living in Toronto, Canada. My second book The Book of (Even More) Awesome is just out and I’m really excited to share the experience with you. I know books are so important to me, to you, to us . . . so here’s how I think about them . . . and here’s some things I think are awesome about them!

Well, let’s start at the beginning.

When I was a little kid my mom read to me before bed.

Actually, I suppose read with me would be more accurate. See, we had a deal. She read the left page and I struggled to slowly read the right, moving my finger over the words, letting her help me pronounce the big ones.

Over time we worked our way through many old dusty collections from garage sales, bookstores, and libraries near our house. We learned about the lives of Mr. Men, Curious George, and The Berenstain Bears.

We went to the library on Saturday mornings for a treat.

I always loved walking on those creaky wooden floors, loitering at the big magazine rack, and chatting with the friendly staff covered in glasses and wool sweaters. I would sniff up that air full of yellowed paper, cracked bindings, and lingering coffee fumes.

Nowadays the smell of books reminds me of late nights cramming for biology exams between the library stacks at college. It reminds me of lying on my elbows on a warm beach towel by the ocean on summer vacation. It reminds me of the heavy set of encyclopedias in my living room when I was a kid, the ones I relied on to write last minute reports on the praying mantis, Nigeria, or the 1972 Summer Olympics.

The smell of books reminds me of learning to read and learning to explore the world.

I love walking quietly through libraries and thinking of how many stories lay hidden in the pages right beside us. Entire lives have been poured into documenting wars and experiments, crafting mysteries and sci-fi novels, showing us how to cook and how to garden, and sending us on faraway trips to faraway worlds.

The smell of books is the smell of us all coming together to document, entertain, and explain things for ourselves now and forever. It’s a big sniff of humanity, a big sniff of wisdom, and a great big sniff of

AWESOME!

{Read on for 3 MORE awesome things about books by Neil—share yours in the comments!}

3 More Awesome Things About Books!

1. When your child reads you a bedtime story

Once upon a time you had a baby.

Over those first few years you had ups and down, good times and bad, lots of laughs and lots of tears. You spooned applesauce off chins, you washed off their skin, and you walked them to their first day of school.

And as they grow up and grow older, as they grow taller and as they grow bolder, it’s beautiful seeing their tiny eyes sparkle with little pops of understanding of the world around them.

It’s a beautiful moment when your little one takes a book from your hand … and bumbles through a story that they want to share with you.

Once upon a time you read to your baby.

And now they’re reading to you.

AWESOME!

I’ve been so flattered to receive so many letters from children around the world as well as elementary school teachers reading “one awesome thing a day” or creating a “Wall of Awesome Things” in their classroom. My favorite books growing up were always adult books with short, simple words and I try really hard to use the same style when I write. In my mind I always think “Ostentatious is ostentatious.” - Neil

2. Finding good reading material in someone else’s bathroom

Bathroom readers of the world, unite!

It doesn’t matter if it’s an old issue of Reader’s Digest on top of the tank, yesterday’s crinkly newspaper lying on the floor, or a dog-eared copy of The Book of Awesome sitting on the bathroom counter. (Where many readers tell me theirs ends up!) Nope, all that matters is now we don’t have to read the back of the shampoo bottle over and over again.

Fellow bathroom reader, thank you for heeding the call, thank you for keeping magazines in the stall, and thank you for being so absoflushinglutely

AWESOME!

A couple weeks after The Book of Awesome came out last year a reader emailed me a picture of it sitting on top of his toilet. “I’m so happy!,” he wrote. “I’ve just found the perfect bathroom book. Lots of content, perfect for guests, and chapters of varied lengths!” I was flattered! - Neil

3. When your friend returns your book and they actually read it

Man, I’m a master of the Ghost Loan.

This is where I borrow someone’s favorite book and then promptly leave it on my shelf for months without touching it. Sure, I see it, I look at it, I think about it, I want to read it, but I just… don’t. And then I keep it for a while, thinking I’ll eventually get to it, but eventually I just admit defeat and return it unread, unfinished, unsatisfied.

It’s always a sad moment because that’s when your friend looks up at you with wide, eager eyes and asks “So what did you think of my favorite book in the whole universe, the one I kindly lent you for months on end, depriving myself and other readers of its powerful words so you could enjoy them?”

That is true pain.

Of course, that’s why it’s great returning a friend’s book after you actually read the thing. And hey, special props if you even liked it. Now you get to give it back with some extra dents, extra creases and share your thoughts with your pal.

Books are such personal pleasures of secret silent moments between you and the pages. They lift you up, drag you down, and stir emotions and memories deep in your bones. When you return a friend’s favorite book it’s like you just got to share all those secret silent moments with them too.

AWESOME!


Finally, I really just want to say thank you. Libraries and librarians hold a very special place in my heart and I included this awesome thing because you loan out books more than anyone else. You share stories and laughs every day and leave people with knowledge and experiences.

Thank you so sincerely for celebrating The Book of (Even More) Awesome with me. I really hope you like it and I wish all of you a very awesome week!

Neil


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