Reading opens a window into us through which we can see the world in a different light.
In my last post, I talked about the pleasure and the benefits of reading every day.
Reading doesn’t have to be about accumulating knowledge or facts.
It doesn’t have to be about studying or reading to become a better writer.
And we don’t have to read to validate our current ideas and beliefs or to look for new ones.
Reading for the simple pleasure of reading, for the experience it creates can be wonderful.
You, a comfortable armchair, and a book—isn’t life worth living for these three simple things?
The wisdom of reading is often not in the text itself, but in the moments of quiet it creates.
Even if these are squeezed in between tasks on our to-do list, they can still be valuable.
Old or new, fiction or self-help, bestsellers or obscure, all books carry within them moments of quiet.
We can read not to escape feeling alone, but to appreciate this feeling, to refine it and draw from it pleasure.
“Do not read, as children do, to amuse yourself, or like the ambitious, for the purpose of instruction. No, read in order to live.”Gustave Flaubert
It’s not about how much we read.
It’s the fact that we sit down every day with a book or some other text and turn the pages.
We suspend our usual thought patterns and pause overthinking.
Not having to live your life story in your head for a while can be liberating. That’s the magic of reading–it enables you to step down from the stage for a while and take a break from having to be yourself.
Reading is not so much about us as about other people, and it can take our minds off ourselves. It can do this in an inexpensive way, at home, on any day or hour of the week. On any chair or couch, in any bed.
The act of holding a book (or eBook reader) in your hand, its weight, the succession of the words conveying emotions, ideas, stories, facts; the repose of your body; the light from the window or the lamp; the turning of the pages–all of these contribute to the experience.
“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.”
Often, we like the idea of reading, but we don’t get to read as much as we want.
We say we don’t have enough time.
Reading time is not something we can take for granted. It’s something we have to create.
A few books where we can see them, a comfortable armchair, a teapot within reach, a quiet hour—these prompts can be enough.
“Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.”