I confess. I’m a bibliophile. Reading has influenced my life in so many ways that I can’t begin to list them all. I’ll just say that if it weren’t for reading, I’d be a lot less interesting, even to myself. I’d be dull, boring, and ignorant of so many, many things.
I think about what I read about. Sure, I think about things like the azure sky, my grandson Ethan’s boundless energy, and what color to repaint the back bedroom, but what if those were the only things I could think about? What if I didn’t know words like azure? Blue is fine, but well, somewhere along the line I picked up azure from a story, and it stuck. I like cerulean, cobalt, and indigo too.
And Ethan? Since I can read, I’ve learned a lot about child development from psychology texts. According to developmental psychologists, a three-year-old is the busiest, most active human on the planet. Plus, although there are exceptions to every rule, observed and documented gender differences show that boys are generally more active in rough and tumble play than girls are.
And that back bedroom? I’m torn between Composed, Hazel, and Fickle. Since I’m been known to select paint based on the names, the sounds and looks of them, then I’ll probably go with Composed. We recently used Morning Zen to paint a small kitchen; it’s a soft, calming color, but the name cast the deciding vote.
The above examples are of everyday ways that reading helps me. Lest I forget, reading also transports me to other places and times and introduces me to people who are interesting, quirky, amazingly resilient, wise, mean, cowardly, enterprising, somber, salt-of-the-earth, funny, and well, you get the picture. They live and die under the same stars, moon, and sky, but they speak different languages, eat different food, and have different customs.
I could go on and on about this. For now, I’ll just mention Deo, an extraordinary man I met in Tracy Kidder’s Strength in What Remains. From Burundi, he escaped a country torn by genocide and violence and emigrated to America. He’s now a doctor and divides his time between the United States and his native country where he’s established medical clinics.
I’m getting a little carried away here. I just have to add that if it weren’t for reading about Deo, I never would have known or cared about Burundi or the plight of its people. Plus, reading about such altruistic people inspires me to try to be a better person. While I’m not planning to go on a mission trip to a foreign country, I’m going to be less self-centered and more giving.
For the moment, however, I’m going to read a few pages of Quiet Dell by Jayne Anne Phillips. How has reading affected your life? What are you reading today?