Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Why Read?

If you've been reading my blog for some length of time, you know I love
books. But that hasn't always been the case. I wasted way too much time as a child glued to the television, indiscriminately watching game shows, variety shows, sitcoms, and even boring fishing shows (when Dad controlled the television knob). Sadly, I usually only picked up a book to complete an assigned book report.  Mark Twain said, "A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't read," so, as an adult, I've been purposeful in making up for lost time, loving every minute of it. 

I am thankful to be a member of a book club, sharing the love of literature with other like-minded women. Along with the monthly selection, we are working our
way through Honey for a Woman's Heart by Gladys Hunt, a guide to good books and the joy of reading. In the first chapter, the author develops her philosophy of reading. She says we read to feel life; authors' expressions of feelings cause our own spirits to soar. We read for pleasure; "Learning to see, to laugh, and to enjoy encounter with others is reason enough to read. The world has comedy built into it; the ridiculous is but to be explored." (p. 26) We read to learn. Good books give us information and perspective not only on history and those who have influenced the world, but on humanity and differing worldviews.

Books develop our hearts.

Gladys Hunt writes, "Life has a story-shape. Stories are built into the very structure of the universe.  A good writer takes the materials of our experience and makes it into a story and helps us understand. . .The Great Story of the universe can be told in many forms, and when it is told well it involves you and me, and makes us see that our lives are stories too.  The stories always involve a view of truth and what we will make of the choices given us. . .There are many reasons to read.  Read as a way to work through problems in real life; read as a way of celebrating your joys, read for enjoyment, read for entertainment, read because you love beauty. Read to savor your memories." (p. 29) 

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