Read For Life
From childhood I was a voracious reader. I mean, there are family photos of me lying on the sofa as a child reading a book, totally oblivious to the toys on the floor. As a child my mother monitored what I read of course, but as an adult the love of literature and the freedom to read truly blossomed and I could absorb all kinds of work at my disposal.
I have read a lot of really interesting stuff. I have read most literary classics. My all-time favorite is To Kill a Mockingbird and the book that sent me into metal overload/shutdown was War and Peace. I remember reading Wicked by Gregory Maguire and coming across one pivotal scene in the book that was so shocking, so mind bending, that I threw the book away. I never throw books away, but this one, I had to! It took a long time for me to regrow the brain cells that I lost from those pages. I’ve also read the Bible in different translations and found vast differences that helped me to round out and balance my spirituality.
There are books on my “to read” list such the Marxist Manifesto, Mein Kampf, a few self-improvement tomes and then I stumbled on Extentialism and I am really curious about that. I am always taking recommendations from friends. My list is so long. My fellow book worms know that I have a very open mind when it comes to reading and I am always willing to look at both sides of the coin. For me reading is about learning, growing and understanding.
One day someone told me that I could only read “this”, and that I could not read “that”. I could not read anything about a particular topic from another point of view and that all I needed to know was all there in front of me. Well let’s just say, loud bells went off in the mind of this bookworm. As someone who loves to read, being told I could not read a particular book, made me wonder: Why? The next question was: “What are you trying to hide?” Next thing I knew there was a cacophony of voices telling me not to read someone else’s point of view which I thought was unfair to the person who wrote the book. It was just a piece of literature; there was nothing benign about it. I did not have to sneak and read it, it was out there in plain sight for the world to see and read, so why did everyone else have this privilege to this information and not I? I wanted to learn and understand the whole story so why couldn’t I delve in like I have with every other book I had read before? No one had ever warned me about the other books I had read but this one, why?
Well I read it and it was mind-blowing, fascinating, eye-opening, and confirming. I could not believe that this book was available to everyone and no one I knew had read it. I could not believe the power some people imposed on others to prevent them from reading something that was just out there. But then after reading this remarkable book I understood why. Reading changes you, opens you up, changes your perspective and can also change your life. It changed my life and for the better.
The motto of this story is: READ. No one can tell you what you can or cannot read. When someone says they are the ultimate source, use caution. When they ridicule others for reading "many books", go side-eye. When someone tells you not to read something “because they are trying to protect you”, ask them: exactly what are they “protecting” you from. Ask them if they have read what they are trying to prevent you from reading. If they have, then ask them, ‘if it’s okay for them to read it why not you’. Ask them again if they have read it. More than likely if they have not, then really, they cannot be an expert on what is in the book. Think about it, who really does that these days anyways? Book censorship is a sign that there is a “story that someone does not want to be told”.
To quote a cliché: Reading is fundamental. It is an essential component of life. It adds to our experience (or shatters it), broadens your perspective in many ways and takes you to places that you could only dream of. So read. It’s your right, no matter what anyone says, you CAN read whatever you want to.The more you read the more you'll know.