No two persons ever read the same book. – Edmund Wilson
I cannot think of any other words that more succinctly and precisely sum up the rich and rewarding benefits that are ours for the taking the moment we embrace The Habit of Reading.
The power behind it brilliantly highlights what happens inside our heads each minute we devote to The Habit of Reading.
The author of a story describes the following scene:
“As he rounds the bend his eyes feast on a large castle with tall towers stretching to the sky. The tops of the wall are lined with soldiers keenly watching everything. The castle is surrounded by a large mote. Alligators swim back and forth in the water.”
What do you see?
As I read those words I saw the young boy running through a forest. He is, perhaps, 9 or 10 years old.
His skin is a golden-brown and he has long, flowing dark hair.
He is dressed in a toga-like robe and in his right hand he is clutching a rolled up manuscript.
I assume him to be a messenger and his mission is to deliver the manuscript to an important person inside the castle.
He gazes skywards and is mesmerised by the magnitude of the castle.
The towers reach into the clouds and the turrets are lined with open squares, much like what we call windows.
The sun glistens off the bronze/gold walls as if to exude wealth and power.
His eyes lower from the height of the towers and he notices the tops of the walls are lined with soldiers dressed in bright maroon/red tunics and adorned with shiny helmets and breastplates.
The presence of these fierce looking men send a clear message to all who would enter uninvited.
Lowering his eyes again he becomes aware of an enormous drawbridge, the height of the castle walls and the width of three chariots.
As his eyes drop further down he becomes aware of a massive mote circling the castle and filled with crocodiles swimming back and forth.
That is exactly what you saw, isn’t it?
Of course not. We read the same words and then paint our own canvasses.
The Habit of Reading brings genius-level of creativity to us all. We create every image and sound and stir emotion within ourselves. No two of us ever share the same experience and indeed some of us will treat the book as a page-turner while others will put it down having lost all interest.
The Habit of Reading strengthens our memories while teaching us to become better storytellers. The more we read the broader our vocabulary becomes and the more articulately we are able to elucidate our considerations.
There is no talent or skill available to any of us that can provide anywhere near the benefit and treasured value we receive by becoming avid readers.
Not only can we build exciting stories but reading will help us master the vagaries of mathematics, the trials of physics and the challenges of calculus.
Next week I will introduce another valuable habit.
As I write this I have no idea what that will be but I can tell you regardless of how useful, powerful and sole enriching it may be, it will most likely not equal all that is yours each and every time you reach for a book.
A wise person once said, “Read as if your life depends on it.”
Your life may not depend reading but the quality of your life most certainly does.
Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.