I attended a talk last week and the speaker, Candy Gourlay (who is an awesome FILIPINA author), opened the session by asking the question, “Why should you read?”
As a self-confessed bookworm, the first thought in my head was, “Why shouldn’t you?!” I honestly believe that you’re missing half your life if you haven’t found yourself in a page of a book. Candy picked a very apt quote from Richard Peck to answer that question:
“If you cannot find yourself on the page very early in your life, you will go looking for yourself in all the wrong places.”
Wow. Richard Peck’s words pretty much hit home for me. Reading has allowed me to escape reality and at the same time it has challenged me to confront myself and my values constantly. It has helped me get over heartbreaks (Thank you, Nick Hornby.) yet it has also caused my heart to break (Thank you, Khaled Hosseini.). And maybe it’s because I’ve lived vicariously through so many of these stories that I share the same “frustration” as Daniel Pennac. He writes:
“…reading is ultimately a retreat into silence… Sometimes humility makes us keep quiet. Not the false modesty of the psychoanalyst, but the intimate, lonely, almost painful acknowledgement that this book or that author has changed your life. Or a sudden realization leaves us speechless: how could something that turned my whole world upside down not have changed the outside world at all?
Books can affect us so profoundly and still the world is destroyed – no wonder we keep quiet.”
As Candy talked about the books that shaped her life, I also started to think about those that influenced mine. At the end of her session, she shared to us what she has termed a “Reader’s Creed” by Richard Peck:
I read because one life isn’t enough, and in the page of a book I can be anybody;
I read because the words that build the story become mine, to build my life;
I read not for happy endings but for new beginnings; I’m just beginning myself, and I wouldn’t mind a map;
I read because I have friends who don’t, and young though they are, they’re beginning to run out of material;
I read because every journey begins at the library, and it’s time for me to start packing;
I read because one of these days I’m going to get out of this town, and I’m going to go everywhere and meet everybody, and I want to be ready.
I think everyone should allow themselves the pleasure of being a reader. 🙂