When I first began these blog posts I wrote about what we read being important. I realise not everyone reads. Many in the world simply cannot read. Others find it tedious. For some there is a preference for television or films or perhaps an audiobook. Each is fin in its own way as a pursuit.
And like reading we need always to balance “how much” and “what” we consume in which every form of entertainment we prefer. Reading, I find, helps in many ways. It is an active diversion in that I am forced to think of the words, the paragraphs, the thoughts and scenes presented to me in words seen.
Books, if we choose to read them, permit us to increase our vocabulary, gain better syntax in our language, open new places and people to us. Books use our own imaginative senses to “see” what the author has written. The scenes may be written in such a way we can see clearly as the author intended, or it could be seen in our own way.
While studying at university I took an English Literature course. I was asked to read many books but one in particular was “Voss” by Patrick White. It is set in Australia, but because I had not experience of Australia I could not imagine some of these scenes and the barren landscape presented as part of the OutBack in fact came to my mind as the barrens of the northern Canadian Arctic! So we are not always in league with the author when we read but we can work at it. “In general,’ Voss replied, ‘it is necessary to communicate without knowledge of the language.” ― Patrick White, Voss
Using our minds in this way keeps them active, rather than passively accepting what the directors produce for us through television and film. The escape books provide are not simply a diversion from this world, but a means to learn and engage with it. One of the greatest gifts we can receive is to be able to read in another language. In this way we expand again our knowledge through literature of another people and culture or that region of the globe.
So it is a great blessing to be able to read and learn; perhaps distraction too. But we have a t our disposal a tool to expand out thoughts and world. Be prudent in the selection, but see it as a means of growth rather than an obligation.
“I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.”
― Groucho Marx