Over the years, people have asked me about the books I read, or why, God forbid, I horde books. Puzzling questions. After all, what you reads depends on your preferences. I've had many books recommended to me, or made random discoveries and, of course, my choices have changed over time. I read everything, including can and cereal box labels, graffiti, and, occasionally, over another person's shoulder, or the writing in the sky. ☺
When pressed I'd say I read for enjoyment and, hopefully, to learn something, buy not all books are enjoyable. They can lead us into places that we'd rather not go, or can not imagine, but most allow us to see life from a different perspective. Books equal (time) travel; they can place us in other people's brocade/leather/plastic, or worn out shoes. They can also comfort, surprise, delight, raise questions, and, more importantly enhance our critical thinking skills.
Recently when I was listening to an author's interview, during question period a member of the audience asked the writer why he/she wrote an elitists book. (Elitists, these days, is a dirty word, but writers, are not generally of the ruling class, but, then again, perhaps a few do influence educational policy, which might be a good thing. But I digress.) The writer was surprised and a little annoyed, I think.
As far as I could determine, the condemnation had to do with the intellect and education of the writer--the writer who wrote a hard book to read. ( If I only had that brain!) My first thought was HUH? and O, come on. (Not exactly articulation at its finest. Perhaps, I should read more.)
My second thought: dictionaries are free, and, these days, they are built into whatever device we might be using. If necessary we can, of course, Google one, or dust off an in-house copy. Most information--also free. We live in a country/continent where we can get our hands on a lot of information and any book we choose. That's freedom and that's what keeps several writers (unfortunately, many with first hand experiences) writing fiction that tells of the horror of losing that freedom. (As we know, most totalitarianism regimes start by burning books. They know that a populous who reads can, for them, be a dangerous thing.)
I hope that particular individual will exercise that freedom. That they will be a curious and radical reader. That they will read whenever they can and whatever they choose, that they will use the library, and discuss books with neighbours, friends, or join a book club. And should reading lead him/her, to Google a dictionary, or other information, I'd say: for heaven's sake dive in--take the plunge!
| The in between reads: The Judges. Unfortunately the Year of The Flood was recalled by the library before I could finish it. Time to find another copy.
“Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another's skin, another's voice, another's soul.”
Joyce Carol Oates