Books are more than just weight to my work bag. They’re an adventure. An escape. A lesson. A few more lessons. An inspiration. And my life line. At a young age, books took hold of me. Whether it was our elementary school’s 600 Minute challenges or SSR (Silent Sustained Reading), I could not walk away, and I don’t think my Mom would have let me. Books have always found their way into my hands. Into my brain. And into my soul.
Today on The Book Bench (from The New Yorker), I came across an article from a man, Jonathan Gourlay and his quest to put down the book and walk away. He brings to light the one thing everyone says to me when they see me reading: I don’t have time to read. Gourlay says maybe we make excuses to not read simply because it’s supposed to be good for us, and we tend to make excuses to not do good things (like exercise, eat right, quit smoking, etc.).
He paints the picture of what life in the non-reader swamp looks like–which seems all too real. Without books, we lose our wonder, our beliefs, our decisions, our composure and ourselves. This fear is the reason I make the time to read a book on the train, before bed and anytime I’m waiting for something (including while at the bar waiting for the basketball game to start). My body goes into freakout mode if I’ve gone days without heading to the library. And I’m no doctor, but I had a massive migraine before lunch today, so I sat there reading instead of chatting with co-workers. And lo and behold, it’s gone.
“The habit of reading is the only enjoyment in which there is no alloy; it lasts when all other pleasures fade.” –Anthony Trollope