Thursday, March 01, 2007

Splash du Jour: Thursday

In high school I began to read for understanding. I read To Kill a Mockingbird and realized that a simple story about the lives of common folk could say more about injustice and intolerance than a thousand political speeches or a dozen newspaper reports. News gets old, truth does not.
History tells you about an event, fiction lets you live it. I read Catcher in the Rye and Crime and Punishment, and what I felt was that old sense of wonder and awe, and what I heard was the sweet voice at my bedside. I will eat a piece of the roof and you can eat the window. I was reading to learn why, to understand what it's like to be a human being. I didn't want to be informed but enlightened. I didn't want answers but questions. Didn't want clarity but mystery. The best stories express what is incomprehensible in life, what is invisible.

I read because I am curious about people and why they do what they do. And what will happen to them next. I read because reading great literature will make me a better person. That may be a purpose of any religion, and fiction is my religion. Its where I go to put my feet on higher ground. I read because I have
only this one brief life, but I want to live a thousand lives. And so I do. And at least one of those lives ends like this: Then all their sorrows were ended, and they lived together in great happiness. And then I can sleep.
-- John Dufresne --

Have a great Thursday!
And a great March, filled to the rafters, with reading.

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2 comments:

Merisi's Vienna For Beginners said...

"I read because I have
only this one brief life, but I want to live a thousand lives."

I couldn't agree more. Books reach out into other lives and other worlds one could not get to know otherwise. I couldn't live without books.

I read "To Kill a Mockingbird" as an eleven year old (stolen secretly from my father's shelves), not much later Dostojevsky's "Crime and Punishment". Both left a lasting impression. I re-read Dostojevsky recently with my 16 year old. Same fascinating read.

danielle said...

I wish I could say I read like that in high school, but for me that type of reading came later. Although I have always loved reading, I don't think I appreciated books in the same way then as I do now!