On Reading


I do not want to just read books; I want to climb inside them and live there.

Anonymous

I don’t remember being read to as a child, but as soon I could read my nose was buried in a book. To this day I can hear my daddy saying, “Sis, it’s time to turn out the light.” I did so, and buried myself under the bed covers and read with a flashlight. Sometimes that made getting up in the morning quite difficult.

I read my way through Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys followed by Frank Slaughter’s books. I fell in love with Mark Twain, Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Steven King. Heck, I even liked Shakespeare and Dante.

For me, books have such power. They entertain, challenge my imagination, introduce me to exotic places, increase my knowledge about history, acquaint me with people I will never meet except through the pages of a book.

Right now I am reading Big Sky by Kate Atkinson. One of her characters acknowledges that he scarcely reads anything anymore explaining that “life was too short and Netflix was too good”. Those words stopped me cold and made me wonder if the same is true for many in today’s chaotic world.

It makes me very sad to think that life is too short to read a good book by a fire on a cold, rainy day or that we have gotten to a point where we’d rather watch a story unfold on Netflix than lose ourselves in the magic of words. It matters not whether we hold a book in our hands and turn the pages one by one or read on a reader or iPad. What matters is that we read, that we allow ourselves to go inside a book and live there. In so doing, we give ourselves a gift and honor the authors whose ability with words make it possible.

17 thoughts on “On Reading

  1. I wonder this too. I have made it part of my life’s mission to inspire people to read for fun (especially among my peers–I am 20). It is such a different experience than watching a film or series–your mind gets to create the imagery of the story in such a different way that I’m sure lights up different parts of our brains.

    1. Sometimes I read aloud to myself trying to get a feel for time, place and characters.

  2. I love these thoughts. For me reading has always been about being someone I could never be in real life — a warrior, a wizard, a cat! Reading has always helped me maintain my imagination even as an adult!

  3. Yes, reading helps us be in our imaginative state, and stay creative and curious.

  4. I wish whoever had said the words you quoted at the beginning would come forth (or had come forth) and identify him- or herself.

    1. Had it been me I’d have wanted everyone to know!😉

  5. Oh, my! I so agree with you, Linda. Those words in a book are pure magic. Learning new vocabulary while picturing the setting and what’s happening are a gift as well. I’m happy that libraries around here still are going strong. We can’t keep up with visitors to our Little Free Library. Can’t thank FRIENDS enough for always seeing that it is filled up.

  6. Marcia Fennell Gardner September 8, 2019 — 2:44 pm

    I loved books since my “conception” I think! Also remember sitting on my parents’ bed Sunday afternoons listening to the radio…Sky King and all the “rest”!!! Stimulated my imagination. Every room of our home is cozy with BOOKS! Thank goodness my husband loves to read also.

  7. I’m always sad to hear that many do not embrace reading. Books are always better then the movies made from them. I’m happy to see our son reading to his littles.

  8. I love to read, and my grandchildren all love books too, I hope they keep their love of books as they grow up…Happy reading!

  9. I also read my way through the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books when I was young. They definitely made me want to keep turning the pages even when it was time to turn out the lights.

  10. I agree, a book needs to take me on journey, and let me get to really know the characters.

  11. Dear Linda,

    First, and most important, I don’t know where another summer has gone! We’ve hardly had a chance to see both of you and I’ve missed my dear friend. I’ve heard from Cyncee that your new sport is Pickle ball and that you are a champion! Tennis at MGC will never be the same without you but I’m so happy that you’ve found a good replacement!

    I was so struck by this blog that I immediately sent it on to our children (and 2 grand-daughters!). The power of the written word to take hold and establish itself in our very core!!! That, I think, is what you are getting at and I couldn’t agree more. I also worry that more and more time is spent on Netflix and less and less with the written word. I’m not sure if this can be turned around or if it is a sign of the times (present and future).

    I hope that all is well with you and Phil. We’re doing fine and I’m actually heading south in 2 weeks. I’ve been here since last February and my 6 mos. and a day out of Maine requirement has nearly expired. Fall is such a lovely time here. I’ll miss it for sure.

    Sending both of you much love –

    As ever

    Loie

    Lucile Oliver Hanscom

    91 Eastward

    Rockport, ME 04856

    Email: loie.hanscom@gmail.com

    Tel: 207-593-8228 or 843-838-7102

    http://www.pickerinstitute.org

    Corduroy B. Paige

    A short history and an amazing adventure

    old-teddy-bear-1391083361R9v[1]

    cid:image008.jpg@01D2650A.E064DAB0

    Letters to a Grand-child

    cid:0910FC3A-DCD2-4C6F-A2DC-91C9CE6ED8BD

  12. Linda, my hubby and I both love to read. We usually read a book per week. I would never choose TV over a book!

  13. Wonderful thoughts………:) Thanks……

  14. I’ve always loved that quote as well! Sadly, I think a lot of people give up the pleasure of reading to stare at the television, but our libraries are doing great jobs of building good readers.

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