My Journey With Reading

Why do we read? The question itself, in today’s culture I believe, must be further defined, or maybe refined? With so much digital information flowing through our days, accessible in ever shrinking volume and context, everyone certainly claims to “read”. Let’s just try to count the number of people we witness in a day slumped over their “digital palm” with the ever-present index finger floating over top the stream. Of course, if we are going to capture this data in an accurate manner, we must ourselves probably commit to expend the energy to raise our own heads and allow it to swivel about while maintaining a greater than 80o angle between our chin and chest. However, this is not the type of reading that I’m wanting to examine; thus, I refine my original question and ask, “Why do we read books?”

My desire is to share some of my journey that has brought me to the brink of possibly becoming what C.S. Lewis in his book, The Reading Life, calls a true reader. My intent is not to write a series of posts, but to occasionally share thoughts and experiences that may encourage someone else to begin, or revive, their own journey in reading. Since I retired, I have found a great deal of enjoyment and enrichment through my time spent with books; books from many genres and a desire to explore additional genre “niches” in the moth and years ahead. I believe I’m at least “mediocrely” qualified to speak to this topic because of my reading experience over the last couple years.

So, I will slightly shift the question from “we” to “I”; Why do I read? As a child my parents transported us many Saturdays to the downtown library and there, I could check out a half dozen books and carry home to read and then return and collect a new batch to spend time with. However, over the years I somehow became less interested in reading and I always attributed that to the requirement of my “school life” filling my “reading time” with their reading list for me. At best I offer that as only an excuse and refuse to spend time attempting to support the claim. What is more important for me is to understand and share with anyone interested, why I started back reading and why I have found it so rewarding for the time invested.

My starting point will be a few discussions I had before starting to read again and through those discussions I began developing a “mindset” why I might want to return to reading books. Reading books offers a gateway to worlds unknown, expanding our horizons beyond the confines of individual, everyday life. Within the pages of a book, we find the power to travel through time, explore diverse cultures, and gain insights into the depths of human emotion and experience. Reading enhances our vocabulary, sharpens our critical thinking, and stimulates our imagination, fostering creativity and empathy. I considered that reading offers a journey where we’re both the traveler and the protagonist, immersed in narratives that challenge, inspire, and entertain. With each turn of the page, I would be invited to learn, reflect, and grow, as books provide a sanctuary for contemplation in our fast-paced world. Whether we seek knowledge, solace, or simply an escape, books stand as faithful companions, ready to accompany us on a lifelong adventure of the mind.

Now back to some reading……..