Directly following my rant from last week about how the world has been at work harvesting my personal ideas without my knowledge or consent, I came across another article along surprisingly similar lines. So, perhaps my brain-child was not all that novel after all, but I do take consolation from my thinking being so ‘on trend’. I was able to put aside my sense of indignation long enough to read said article and, though it was quite long and I’ll forgive you if you don’t possess the stamina to steam all the way through, I found it worth my time.
If literature, imagination, or empathy are at all important to you (and they should be to everyone, in my opinion) then take some time to read this article from Neil Gaiman on “Why our future depends on libraries, reading, and daydreaming.” Since I do know that these things are important to you, and I also realize that many of you will not read the whole article, I have copied a few pertinent quotes below, both to whet your interest and to highlight the main points.
“Empathy is a tool for building people into groups, for allowing us to function as more than self-obsessed individuals.”
“Literacy is more important than ever it was, in this world of text and email, a world of written information. We need to read and write, we need global citizens who can read comfortably, comprehend what they are reading, understand nuance, and make themselves understood.”
“We all – adults and children, writers and readers – have an obligation to daydream. We have an obligation to imagine. It is easy to pretend that nobody can change anything, that we are in a world in which society is huge and the individual is less than nothing: an atom in a wall, a grain of rice in a rice field. But the truth is, individuals change their world over and over, individuals make the future, and they do it by imagining that things can be different.”
“Albert Einstein was asked once how we could make our children intelligent. His reply was both simple and wise. “If you want your children to be intelligent,” he said, “read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”
Libraries are extremely important to me, as the librarians at the local branch of my public library have found out over the past months. I have frequented their fine establishment at the minimum of one time per week since our arrival in this town–in fact I’m headed there in half an hour for a book club– and the kind women who work at the check out counter are beginning to recognize me as the girl who checks out inordinately long books at an astonishingly regular rate. Living far away from friends and family has resulted in my relying more than ever on the companionship and ‘mental travel’ afforded by any well-written book.
Come back again soon and I’ll put my blog where my mouth is, so to speak, and share about a recent series of books I have been enjoying. What are your favorite books?