10/20/08

The Pleasure of Reading a Good Book


Francis Bacon said some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested (Essays: Of Studies). I cannot agree with him more. It is an immense privilege to read a good book - and what better way to escape the hum-drum of every day life and travel to far-off places and experience romance and adventure which you cannot experience in any other way? Consider a travel guide, a romance novel, a thriller or a history book ( my favorite!). Have you ever read Ceasar's Gallic and Civil Wars ? What a privilege to be able to have that book translated into English and escape to Ceasar's world for a few hours! I concede - there are some terrible books - but as everything else they have their place in society.
There is nothing more sad than a damaged book - don't you agree? I tend to buy books and seldom go to the library - but if I do take out a library book it makes me absolutely mad that people tear the pages, write in the books or even worse - allow their children to cut pictures from the books! Luckily (I think) we have the internet today and I think most parents just have their children use the internet for assignments rather than taking them to the library - which in my opinion is also not entirely correct. Children must be taught to read and have respect for books. Which make me think of the second world war when the fascists burned books in Germany's streets. And in that context it is quite true when Heinrich Heine said: "Wherever they burn books they will also, in the end, burn human beings." (Alamansor: A Tragedy) How true.
I am sure that other novelists and writers out there will have to agree with me that a good writer is a good reader BUT - Novelists should never allow themselves to weary of the study of real life. (Charlotte Brontë - The Professor). And be careful what you write - the pen can sometimes be more cruel than the sword! And books can teach us valuable life lessons - the Bible (for instance) or a Do it Yourself book! What fun! The possibilities are endless!
Now - go and pick a delightful book - the most important criteria for your choice should be that you enjoy the book and rediscover the pleasure of reading. Have a nice day dear reader.

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