Here’s a nice piece on Why we Read from Maria Popova (Brain Pickings). I hope you enjoy it. “Books read us back to ourselves… The escape into another story reminds us that we too are another story. Not caught, not confined, not predestined.”
“Books read us back to ourselves… The escape into another story reminds us that we too are another story. Not caught, not confined, not predestined.”
“A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us,” Kafka wrote to his childhood friend just as he was setting out on a life of making and honing axes of words. I have always been struck by his metaphor — by both the exquisite truth of its tenor and the awful violence of its vehicle. A good book is indeed a profound transformation and, yes, there can be a violence to how it awakens us from the trance of near-life, but it is often a transformation of great subtlety and tenderness — an act of healing, a self-salvation, a self-creation. “Books and stories are medicine, plaster casts for broken lives and hearts, slings for weakened spirits,” Anne Lamott wrote in her lovely letter to children a century after Kafka. As a child, Jane Goodall read herself into her unexampled life. As a girl cusping on adulthood, Helen Fagin read herself alive through the Holocaust.
We read for countless reasons and books transform us in countless ways, reckoned and unreckoned. We read the way we love — with our whole selves, with the flickering constellation of values, longings, traumas, joys, hopes, despairs, formative experiences, and half-remembered impressions composing the self.