Why Read?

I love to read. Like my friend, Paul Randal (blog, @PaulRandal), I read a lot of books every year, usually over 50. As long as I can remember, I’ve enjoyed reading books, primarily fiction, and it’s been a part of my life that I often look forward to. It’s a joy to see both my boys enjoying reading, and even reading books I’ve recommended. Having my little girl starting to read on her own, and get wrapped up in books and read through them in one sitting makes me smile.

I ran across this link, The Plot Escapes Me, from the NY Times Book Review column, and at first I was surprised. A book reviewer can’t remember plots?

I just recommended The Treasure Hunter to my middle son. That’s a non-fiction book, about someone that hunts for Treasure all over the world as a part of his life, going to different countries for the adventures. Emeralds in South America, sunken ships in the Caribbean, old Indian graves in Central America and Mexico. I read that book as a kid, one of the few non-fiction ones I read multiple times. A friend of the family gave it to me, and I still have it on a bookshelf. I remember two authors, one Robin something, a former Green Beret having toured Vietnam. It’s one of the few hardbacks that I have carried from my youth, through moves and marriage, across the country and back.

I believe that books make us better, they round us out, and they enrich our lives. That’s part of what the author of the New York Times article talks about. We are affected by the books, even if we don’t often remember them. They change our lives, and help us grow.

As I age, I slowly realize that all the classes I didn’t like in college were actually good for me. The philosophy, the chemistry, the other classes that weren’t practical, and I haven’t used in my life, have contributed to who I am, and they have helped me be a more rounded person. I see more in life than just a narrow focus.

I think it’s important to consume arts, whether that’s music, art, literature, or something else. It helps you to grow and expand who you are. It’s one reason that I now mix non-fiction and fiction when I read, trying to grow, trying new things, trying to expand my horizons.

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