The stories of our days can be saved and mastered through books. As Henry David Thoreau writes in Walden, a classic account of his first summer in the New England woods, “Two words: read, read, read.”
A lot of people read to their kids and bring books on outings. Books can be an antidote to mounting stresses, shared experiences, feelings of lost independence, and the relentless blur of social media and electronic distractions.
Readers love stories. “Books remind us of our own behavior,” notes Amy Wallace. They make us think about our lives, about what we value, and about the words and images that can have a profound and lasting effect on us.
Not only does reading give us powerful storytelling experiences, it’s practical. In an increasingly digital world, giving up on old-fashioned paper books is a tough choice for some readers, especially parents. Especially with families with younger children who have mobile devices, some of them can’t give up the joy of reading. Others are too busy or overwhelmed.
But do you have time to read? What are you reading, and why? Have you read your friends? Have you read books that reflect your understanding of the world and your own life and experience? Do you find yourself hiding away in fiction because you want to escape your ordinary life? If you’re overwhelmed by life and want to read about escape or escape from reality, consider starting with a well-crafted fiction novel or a book memoir that can reveal hidden possibilities.
However you choose to begin, and however you experience reading, just start! And read! Books can change lives. Read together!
If you need some suggestions, here are some books and authors you might enjoy:
Brooklyn by Colm Toibin
Becoming the Leader of the Free World by Walter Cronkite and Thomas L. Friedman
Ponder Heaven by John Lennon