Books make us feel things, at least books worth reading do. They can be uplifting, depressing, enraging, and enrapturing. Good books will bring the reader to unexpected and unfamiliar depths of feeling without manipulating or commanding but simply by showing the way and making it irresistible.
There is something more, though, that the best books do. They never fail to bring the reader to a place of deep feeling, but they never stop there either. Once they have plied the reader’s heart they show the way to change. The best books make a person want to be something, not just feel something.
Feelings are fleeting. As we read we may feel, but then we close the book and life happens to us. And those moments become less real. But when we are in the best books, even when we close them we are left with vivid memories of a particular character or phrase or nugget of truth that so resonates in the rest of life that we seek to emulate it. And the more times this happens, the more we are changed to besomething better, not just feel something good.
So we must seek out books that take us beyond feeling and on toward being. We must realize that what we bring into a book deeply affects its ability to lead us anywhere. Sometimes we bring brokenness, sometimes hardness, sometimes arrogance, and sometimes emptiness. Sometimes we are full, happy, and humble. The best books are not hindered by the hard things and excel at utilizing the happy.
Don’t settle for books that make you feel something. They’re good, but let them fuel your appetite for the best books. Be hunters for books that make you want to be something better. Seek them, and you shall find them.