Monday, March 7, 2011

A Passion For Reading

The greatest gift is the passion for reading.
It is cheap, it consoles, it distracts, it excites, it gives you
knowledge of the world and experience of a wide kind
It is moral illumination.
(Elizabeth Hardwick, 1989)

Elizabeth Hardwick was an editor, writer, critic and co-founder of the New York Review of Books. Who better to have made the comment above? I am in full agreement of her assessment of reading, and mostly the passion for reading that is within the quote.

To be a real reader, you must be passionate about it. None of this reading a book once a year and an occasional glance at a newspaper or magazine. If you’re passionate about reading, never a day goes by that you don’t read something. To me, reading is nourishment for the soul.

And like any recipe, reading requires more than one ingredient. No one would read without writers, editors, and publishers. They bring us the words that fill us with knowledge and/or entertain us. Some of us will never be more than a reader, but others who work in the writing world reap double benefits. Not only can they pursue a passion for reading, but they can offer reading material to the world.

I read two newspapers a day, sometimes three since my husband recently subscribed to the Wall St. Journal. I am always in the process of reading a book. When one is finished, there is another waiting for me. I also enjoy reading magazines. Do I read every single word? In a book, more often than not, I do. The newspapers and magazines I read the parts that appeal most to me, which is usually a good share.

I believe Ms. Hardwick and I would have gotten along quite well as we are of the same mind when it comes to the passion for reading. I’ve heard people comment that they don’t have time to read books, magazines and newspapers. They do have time to spend endless hours in front of a TV or a computer or an electronic game. It’s not they don’t have time, rather that they don’t take time to read. Maybe you need that passion for reading before you make it a priority.

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