Where Reading Can Take You (Suggestion 22)

Back in Post No 11The Joy of Reading – I encouraged you to get to the stage where reading is not an effort for you. I wrote of the pleasure of losing yourself in fiction, fantasy or real-life stories. I suggested how you might work up to the stage where you read almost without realising you’re doing so. And Post No 5Read, read, read! – starts at a more elemental (basic) level, if you want or need to work from there.

Today I want to renew that encouragement, and urge you again to invest in getting to the stage where you can look at words and read (and understand) them without making any conscious decision to do so.

Here are some reasons why, and although they are not made up by me, I thoroughly agree with them and think that these two readers express them far better than I could do.

Reading is magic. Books are magic. It starts when we are shown picture books and realise there is another world beyond the everyday one we know. Once we can read ourselves, we live inside the magic. The only problem is that we have to emerge at the end of a book, and we don’t want to leave and return to that dull domestic world we know. The only solution to that problem, of course, is that there is always the next book, and the next, and there is the bonus magic if it is another in a series we already love, so we are plunging back into a magic other world but one we already know.” [From: Jacob’s Room is Full of Books by Susan Hill]

“Today books for me mean looking at the world, learning about it, seeing it through the eyes of others. They are a brilliant device for shape-shifting, as we can slip into the skin of authors from other times, other cultural backgrounds, brilliant minds who give us a new perspective on life and the world – something we all need from time to time. Books give us the unique chance to talk to the dead, listen to their stories, use their words as a time machine, a flying carpet to faraway lands. Books make time and space meaningless; they give us witty and wise companions; they teach us that our worries and fears are shared by others – and they give us words for what we sometimes cannot express.” [Cornelia Funke being interviewed in The Bookshop Book, by Jen Campbell]

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