Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.
It’s 2:45 a.m., and I’m reading past my bedtime. Why, you ask? I’m reading to feel normal. My to-do list with unforgiving deadlines keeps growing—exponentially. If only I had Felonius Gru’s stolen shrink ray gun, I’d shrivel my list tout de suite. Since life is hardly a cartoon right now, I have to settle for calculated escapes. To find ways to do things that make me feel like a normal human being. Reading is one such flight. Football is another. (Yes, I’m double-dipping tonight.) So I’ve turned to Anna Quindlen, Rachel’s and my make-believe friend. She’d fit right in with the two of us. We’re sure of that. After all, it was Anna who said, “A finished person is a boring person.” Love her.
Quindlen is a prize-winning author. I want to give her a medal for being down-to-earth and real relatable. A Short Guide to a Happy Life is a lustrous little prize. But that’s not what I’m immersed in tonight. I’m occupied with How Reading Changed My Life. Q (think James Bond) reminds me that reading has as many functions as the human body, not all of them are cerebral. Technically, I am an academic, so I do like to read to expand my intellect. But there are myriad reasons to take to books regularly. My sister, who loves to ingest Grisham, reiterates that she often reads to be entertained.
I like Quindlen quoting the infectious, exceptional Roald Dahl: “[Matilda] had learned something comforting, that we are not alone”; she found endearing companions in book characters. Reading is a balm for loneliness. It diminishes human isolation as much as it expands our knowledge or offers us entertainment. “Part of the great wonder of reading is that it has the ability to make human beings feel more connected to one another.” Amen Anna. Amen.
And therein lies the power of reading. How Reading Changed My Life will sell you on the sport in 82 pages. If you need no pitch to graze from books insatiably, Q will inform and inspire by her descriptions of books that you’ll fast feel are must-reads by the time she’s through unfolding them to you. Chances are, like me, you’ll find yourself reading her favorites well beyond your bedtime.