Reading gives us some place to go

“Reading gives us some place to go when we have to stay where we are.”

—Mason Cooley, Late American Aphorist

Image of a man reading at a bus stop

Photo by Laëtitia Buscaylet on Unsplash

My mother, Rose, was the most avid reader I’ve ever known. As a boy, I would frequently go with her to the library where, every three weeks, she would pick a new batch of 12 books. She devoured them every evening after dinner.

I recall her frustration on one occasion, in that she could not find, in our small local library, enough books of interest that she had not already read.

Although she was never a world traveler or college graduate, she took countless trips with her vivid imagination – wherever her written portals to adventure would take her.

EXERCISE:

Consider visiting your local library or bookstore to pick up a book that will take you on a great adventure, from the comfort of your favorite chair.

The worst thing about new books

“The worst thing about new books is that they keep us from reading the old ones.”

—Joseph Joubert, 19th Century French Essayist

Image of a large library

Image from Flickr by Saimad

Because I am heavily invested in personal and professional development, I am always on the lookout for the next ground-breaking book. I thrive on new ideas and the concept of finding a better way to improve the world.

If you are like me, you sometimes find new books a bit of a letdown in that they often repackage old ideas in ways that fall short of the originals.

EXERCISE:

Consider a Google search on this phrase:

The greatest ___________ books of all time. Fill in the blank with whatever types of books you value and enjoy most.

 

Some books are undeservingly forgotten

“Some books are undeservingly forgotten. None are undeservingly remembered.”

-W.H. Auden, 20th Century English Poet

image of books on a shelf

Image from Flickr by UNCG Research

Do you love books, as I do? Do you prefer fiction or non-fiction? Regardless of your choice, take a moment to recall the books that told a great story or taught a profound lesson that has stayed with you to this day.

What percentage of the books you’ve read have you forgotten completely – perhaps undeservedly – due to a less than optimally open and receptive mind?

EXERCISE:

How would a far more open mind and receptive attitude toward seeking value and benefit from the books you read support you in living a fuller and more prosperous life?

“Never judge a book by its movie.”

“Never judge a book by its movie.”

—Don DeLillo, American novelist

image from icezen.com

image from icezen.com

Reading a book takes effort. Watching a movie, not so much. More often than not, many if not most movies fall short of their books.

Tens or hundreds of millions of dollars are invested in movies based on books because the characters and stories amaze readers. It is in these stories and characters that our visions of these works of art are envisioned and portrayed by producers and directors. Unfortunately, even with brilliant actors and special effects, the images on screen rarely capture what our own creativity and imagination can create from the words of a masterful storyteller.

Books allow us to pace ourselves and literally savor each bit of dialogue or image painted, if we choose to do the work the writer intended. Phrases like “I couldn’t put it down,” or “page turner” are familiar to all of us who have been fortunate to get our hands on great books.

These works also tend to have a lasting impact in that their messages and images penetrate deeply, due to the active role the reader must play.

Perhaps a picture does not always paint 1,000 words, and the words found in books allow us to paint more masterful pictures in our hearts and minds.

EXERCISE

Consider reading the book upon which a current film has been made, either before or after attending a screening.

Determine which you enjoyed the most, or felt had the greatest impact.