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“What we become depends on what we read after all of the professors have finished with us.” -Thomas Carlyle
Over the weekend, I had a very philosophical discussion with my mother (I love such talks, truly), and one of the topics that came up was reading, books and opportunity.
Fostering a love for reading is the most inexpensive way to travel the world, to expand your mind and consequently, to discover who you are and what you are passionate about.
The thing about reading is that it doesn’t end with school, it doesn’t end because the assignment is done; it truly is a pleasurable pursuit that stays with each of us long after the last page is read.
And I believe that is what makes reading so powerful. Not only are we learning about the plot that is unfolding or the history that has taken place while we are reading, but we are enhancing our vocabulary, picking up subconsciously how to construct sentences and how to be better conversationalists. The same certainly can’t be said for television. Reading is a multi-faceted pastime.
An opportunity to be freed from our circumstances comes the moment we immerse ourselves in any given book we are interested in. Truly, to be able to read is a gift. A gift, I have to be honest, I probably take for granted. Because it is without question that, as S.I. Hayakawa reminds us, “. . . people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read.”
As I think most readers of blogs would agree, reading exposes us to the world, so that we are not boxed in, confined to what someone else believes. Instead we can make up our own mind, read multiple viewpoints, get to the bottom of something. Reading provokes a curiosity that truly is a quality which aids in successfully living a full and contented life. To be curious is to have an innate thirst for knowledge, and to have the peace of mind in knowing that if we can’t hop on a plane and visit the country of our dreams at any given moment, we can pick up a book that is set where we would some day like to be.
Upon reading my first classic piece of literature in high school, I can vividly remember saying to myself with unedited glee, “The author is speaking about life, I can apply this to my life!” And that was the moment, however elementary my thought process was then, that I fell in love with literature. Not only do books teach us about life, but what keeps me coming back and picking up book, after book, after book, is that they can teach so much about who we are, what we can become, what mistakes not to make, and so many times, what risks to take.
“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. It is wholesome and bracing for the mind to have its faculties kept on the stretch.” -August Hare
Without question, the focus on being well-read should be viewed as equally, if not more importantly, as looking good when we peek at ourselves in the mirror because with intelligence, comes the ability to have a quick wit and an understanding that beauty fades and intelligence remains.
Consequently, “Reading is a basic tool in the living of a good life.” Reading is a simple luxury.
Have a beautiful Monday and if you can, find time today to read something that you enjoy, but at the same time challenges you.