“The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate” is a 1992 book by author Gary Chapman.

In this quick read, Chapman outlines the five different ways that beings give and receive love: words of affirmation, quality time, gift giving, acts of service, and physical touch. What should’ve also been on this list as its own language of love was perhaps books.

For me, books are a kind of love language. because they represent so much more than just words on a page.

Every Christmas and birthday, I ask for gift cards to the bookstore, and set aside extra cash in my monthly budget for that one book that I’ve got my eye on. 

There’s nothing more that I love than the feeling of a book, whether it’s brand new or used, gifted or borrowed, folded or highlighted, and with notes in the margins.

The pages of a book feel like an entire universe bound together and often the book that I’m reading feels like a really good friend with really good advice.

In our ever-changing world, though, we see how we read evolve and change. Some of us opt for audiobooks that we can listen to during our walks and hikes, while others choose e-books for our devices over classic paperbacks. 

Some of us are intentional and mindful of where we purchase our books as well. Many of us are considerate about buying books from local bookstores, while others are diligent about only buying second-hand books and donating their own. Some of us like the quickness and ease of same-day delivery, while others are obsessed with collecting their Plum points. 

Whatever the case may be, the one thing we see as a strong constant despite how much societal evolution we witness is the love and admiration we see for books across the masses. What we continuously see show up is the popular engagement with books and reading as synonymous with concepts like ‘self-care’, ‘unplugging’ & ‘finding yourself’. 

The offerings of a powerful book continue to transcend even the most large-scale changes of our society.  

I’d also argue that the value we give books continues to prevail, despite the changes we see our society go through. We still turn to the pages of a book and the gems on our bookshelves when we’re looking for that specific reference, that quote, or that chapter that changed our lives. I also often find myself feeling like I’m winning an argument or debate, simply if I say “I read it in a book once.” 

One of my favourite gifts to give and receive will forever be books, too. The giving and receiving of a particular book for a particular person feels like such a sacred energy exchange. 

On that note, here’s a book I picked up on a whim this week: “The Universe Has Your Back: Transform Fear to Faith” by Gabrielle Bernstein. I’m excited to understand the universe within this microcosm of a universe and to dive in. 

Be sure to also check out these reads from incredible South Asian authors:

One Night at the Call Centre by Chetan Bhagat

When You Ask Me Where I’m Going by Jasmin Kaur

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal

Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

The First and Last Freedom by Jiddu Krishnamurti

Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie

The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur

Annihilation of Caste by B.R. Ambedkar

I’m Afraid of Men by Vivek Shraya

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5X Press is a forum for opinions, conversations, & experiences, powered by South Asian youth. The views expressed here are not representative of those of 5X Festival.