21. Read as if your life depends on it.

Yesterday being Christmas, my beloved wife presented me with an exquisitely wrapped gift.

I excitedly tore open the wrapping and discovered she had bought me the one gift I treasure above all others.

As is our custom, we had not discussed gift selection in the days before Christmas, nor before any other occasion, and have never asked each other the timeless question, “what would you like for …?”

And yet she bought me the perfect gift. How could she have known? Easy. My wife bought me a book. And nothing in the world could make me happier. 

Reading is as much a part of my life as tooth brushing and breathing. I cannot imagine a whole day passing without at least some time spent reading.

When I travel alone on business, I won’t even go to a restaurant for a meal without ensuring I have something to read while I eat.

I was raised in a family of readers and in a country that did not, at the time, have television which has proven to be a blessing. Entertainment was comprised of reading or listening to the radio and for as long as I can remember I have read an average of two books per week.

My wife too is an avid reader, although I suspect our motives for reading are quite different. I read so that I can pretend to know stuff – she reads to avoid having to talk to me 

So I was stunned when I read the results of a study released earlier this year that concluded that 40% of adults in our country lack the literacy levels needed to function in our modern society. In some parts of the country the percentage was even higher and the study did not include immigrants from non English speaking countries.

Forty percent of us are funkshinily ilitrit! Yukes. 

And then I remembered another study I had read several years ago that found that 54% of adults never read a book cover to cover after they have completed their formal education.Yakes.

What a shame. Lives of missed opportunities and I’ll tell you why.

Gimalle and I recently saw the movie Angels and Demons. I was disappointed.

“Why,” you ask?

I’ll tell you. I seldom read fiction but I had read the book several years ago and had conjured up marvellous images in my head of the many scenes described in the story. The scenes in my head were loud, colourful, creative and exciting. The scenes in the movie were no match for my imagination. They never are. In fact, I have never seen a movie that I enjoyed more than reading the book.

No movie maker can ever rival the genius of my imagination and, so it is, I believe, with all of us. Reading causes our minds to expand and grow and, our creativity to soar. Watching a movie requires staying awake.

The point of all of this is to beg you not to be part of that 54%. Reading is one of the greatest gifts we are given. The greatest is, of course, the gift of choice.

Use your gift of choice to choose to allow the gift of reading to bring joy, laughter, knowledge, enlightenment and wisdom into your life every day 

You’ll be so glad you did.

Send me an email about your reading.

I can’t wait to read it.

Reading will greatly enhance your vocabulary, improve your grammar, spelling and punctuation. But there is one thing reading has not helped me with – I never’ know wh’ere to put the apo’stropheses’s’.

Till we read again.

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