Sometimes I think I do not read enough.
Sometimes I know I do not read enough.
There’s something quite magical about reading.
Not being whisked away on mystery tours of
the imagination, the swirls of colours
that make up the mind’s eye being shaped into
landscapes, room, foregrounds, back-drops,
faces, clothes, smells, sights, sounds
by the words on the page and the care
with which they are crafted.
It is not the genuine deep emotions we feel for
characters we care about,
sadness or empathy with tragedy,
true fear at moments of terror.
Reading is not also just amazing
for the things we learn from what we read,
our knowledge and world view shaped
by stories on pages.
When I was 10, my father took me on
holiday to Scotland in a camper van.
My bed was located above the driver’s cabin
and, try as he might, he could not stop it leaking
when it rained, and on this holiday,
it rained a lot. On the first night,
we stayed on a car park by a cliff.
The camper van was not the sturdiest of things
and was being ragged around by the wind
and it sounded like a million machines guns were peppering
the sides all at once all night.
I got into bed scared by the storm and
that we were going to be blown over the edge
and missing home. I reached into my bag
and pulled out a torch and a book –
a Goosebumps one I think –
and read until I fell asleep.
As I read, my fear dripped away
down my body until it joined the flood at
the bottom of my bed.
I huddled under the duvet with the torch,
bundled into a ball and felt relaxed,
no longer scared – not by the storm anyway.
R. L. Stine knew how to shit kids up.
Being curled up with a book and letting the world
ebb away is a very unique, very human experience.
Reading makes us better, more human,
for whatever that is worth.