I LOVE READING. I love the way reading
can open me up to new worlds and simultaneously connect me more deeply
to myself. Reading enlightens me, inspires me, connects me with my deeper
values, stimulates my imagination, entertains me and satisfies my curiosity
about the way the world is. For all the good it does me I do struggle
with one temptation. Its a kind of greed that wants to use reading
to inflate my ego rather than to read for the joy of reading and the
reasons listed above. In my best self I enjoy reading to learn and to
grow and, if possible, to help myself and others around me.
I sometimes think that I would like more time for reading. This desire
can come from a number of places. Some of it is pure escapism. It's
a rainy day and I don't feel like working and I wish I could just curl
up with a good book. But when I think about it more soberly I realize
that I have been given a lot of time to read. I read while in college
and had seven years while working in a church where I could do a lot
of reading. The issue now is to integrate what I have read into my life.
Reading another book won't necessarily make me a better person. It may
or it may not. It really depends on what I do with the information I
have been given.
I can sometimes read in a lazy fashion where I just gather the data
of the book but don't really apply it to my life. Working through The
Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey is a good example
of trying to apply a book to my life and living it.
Writing a review of a book is also a good way of deepening my experience
of reading. The books that I have reviewed or that I have taught to
others are always the books that impact me the most. There is something
about sitting with a book and contemplating it that deepens the experience.
The same of course is true of my life. If I bring intention to my reflection
on my life I get a deeper and richer experience than if I just sleep
walk through my life.
I enjoy reading a lot of different genres. I like reading theology and
spirituality books because they help me reflect on the nature of my
relationship with God. This is something I am always interested in exploring.
I like reading mysteries because they engage the mind as I try to figure
out who did it. I enjoy reading books like Stephen Coveys The
Seven Habits of Highly Effective People because they help me to
live life well.
In the past few years I have even enjoyed reading historical fiction.
I think of Caleb Carr's books on 19th century New York and further back,
Godric and Brendan by Frederick Buechner. The power of
a great storyteller is to get us to enter the world of the story. Whether
it's a story told in the past, present or future we are opened up to
a new way of seeing the world.
like the way that fantasy books like The Lord of the Rings and
The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant can open up mythological worlds.
These fantasy stories often talk about living life with courage and
dignity in the face of difficult odds. I often find that they inspire
me to live with the same kind of hope and courage. There's one line
in Tolkiens The Fellowship of the Rings that I find particularly
inspirational. The fellowship of the Ring has just exited the mines
of Moria without Gandalf, their leader and mentor. He has fallen with
a giant Balrog into a fiery pit. All assume him dead. Their new leader
Aragorn says, "We must do without hope... At least we may yet be
avenged. Let us gird ourselves and weep no more! We have a long road
and much to do." It's an incredible story of perseverance and determination
in the face of a devastating setback. Aragorn knows the company must
move forward or lose their lives and so they move out.
I like reading adventure stories and sports biographies for much the
same reason. It's inspiring to see people standing up to the obstacles
that face them and triumphing. Reading books like this inspires me to
face the obstacles I encounter with a similar kind of courage. I remember
as a kid going to sleep each night planning a dream of a different adventure
that I would face with courage. The issue for me now is not so much
to dream up new adventures but to live well the adventure that I have
I think that fundamentally reading makes me more human. It brings out
the different aspects of myself and allows me to grow.
Tell us how you find enough
time to read.
Respond to the author here
(responses may be posted)
to A Community Reads