imaginary_golux: adult red riding hood and her wolf (Default)
I confess that one of my great faults is my inability to conceive of other people not enjoying something I enjoy. I think this is a fairly common fault, really; we're all baffled when a friend or relative doesn't like tomatoes, or ping-pong, or whatever it is that pleases us but not them. I confess that I'm also really bad at understanding why people don't know things I know, which is why I'm actually a fairly bad English teacher: I know English language and grammar well enough that I can't explain them.

A few days ago, I realized that most of the world doesn't like to read as much as I do. This was an astonishing and terrifying revelation. I love to read. I spend most of my spare hours reading - books, blogs, fanfiction, the newspaper, the random Avon catalog someone left in the break room, the back of a cereal box if I must. A day in which I do not read is not a good day for me. Reading is very nearly as integral a part of my psyche as breathing is.

So the realization that there are people out there who, by choice or chance or inability, do not read, was shocking. How could it be so? Being the rather introverted person I am, I overthought this, and eventually came to some conclusions:

First, that I am a bit strange. But then, I knew that already. Normal people do not write smutty Disney fanfiction, or make small 'gneep' noises when happy.

Second, that my love of reading is in large part a product of the fact that my parents surrounded me with books from a very young age. They had the leisure and interest to read to me just about daily, from around the time of my birth, and so I learned early on that books were fun. My teachers, for the most part, were also supportive of my reading habits - my kindergarten teacher gave me Redwall as a gift.

And third, that clearly there is a flaw in our culture, or our school system, or both, because an incredibly small percentage of the people around me love to read. My significant other reads (I most likely couldn't bear a lover who didn't), and most of my friends are voracious readers, but as far as I can tell, the vast majority of the common folk of my country get neither pleasure nor purpose out of reading. And personally, I feel that this is wrong, not merely because I love to read, but because the written word is one of the best ways to communicate across generations and cultures; because the written word is part of what makes people people, not merely upright apes; because not reading deprives a person of the innumerable worlds, peoples, events, and emotions that make up the world of imagination. Oh, other forms of media provide similar stimulation, but few of them also provide the consumer with the option to make up their own pictures, their own voices, their own image of what is going on.

To sum up: books spur imagination and are a window to wonders. Reading is good - why isn't everyone doing it?

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March 2016

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