Why do we read?
July 23, 2010
My son challenged me the other day. Really, he's always been a challenge, but I'll save those stories for another day. He asked me "Why do you read?" My first reaction was to tell him for entertainment, of course. Nothing wrong with that. But he wants to go deeper. "What was the last book that you read?" Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See. "Did you have an insightful discussion with your peers about it?" Yes, as a matter of fact, I discussed it at length with my Book Club. "What did you learn from reading it?" Ummmm...
Then the lecture began.
"How fantastic would it be if, instead of hearing a gaggle of teenage girls talk about how hot Jacob Black and Edward Cullen are, we heard them discussing how Stephanie Meyer inserted her own views on abstinence and relationships in the Twilight series? It would be incredible if they would discuss the allegorical themes and brilliant internal conflict present in the characters of the Harry Potter series. It would be a further feat of education if they were to discuss the breakdown of social stereotypes that both Meyer and Rowling explore in their novels. Unfortunately, we too often get caught up in the fantastic plot lines in books to see that they are making statements on our lives. It goes back to the adage 'Does art reflect society, or does society reflect art?' Are we allowing literature to shape our society by allowing their subliminal messages to slip into our minds, or are we delving into books and taking the time to examine society and reflect upon what the literature states? Literature is something upon which we should reflect. We should be reading to learn as well as reading to be entertained. Every piece of literature has something to offer, all you have to do is find it. Let education happen, and it will."
Wow. When did he become such a thinker?
Okay, I will accept the challenge. I will begin to read a book and examine what more it has to offer beyond the characters and plot line. I encourage you to do the same. Choose a good book, soak it up, and share it with your friends, or join a Book Club and participate in a lively discussion. Education is a life-long endeavor. There is always something to learn, and like a wise-guy once told me, "Let education happen and it will."Tags: reading, Books, book clubs