heatherfromthegrove’s New Year’s Revelation No 1 of 7: Take the time to read

2017

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It’s a new year, ladies and gentlemen!
May it be a good one for all of us!
This year, the inspiration for my New Year’s “Revelations” stems from some of the sage words and wisdom of the great philosophers  and literary figures of all time.
I hope that some or all of these revelations resonate with you.

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Take the time to curl up in a comfortable chair and read a book. Read, not skim. A book, not a tablet or computer screen.  Turn your phone off, close your computer and let yourself be transported into a beautiful piece of literature, a gripping bestseller, an interesting biography, or a thought-provoking work of non-fiction.  Reading is quite simply the best therapy in the world. It’s right up there with music, dance and art. Therapy aside, reading helps you to relax and de-stress.  And, of course, there is something to be said about learning new things, opening up your mind and… actually stimulating your mind.

 “The art of reading is in great part that of acquiring a better understanding of life from one’s encounter with it in a book.”

André Maurois

I have always been a bookworm. As a child, when my friends would knock on our door and ask my mother whether I was coming out to play, I would tell them that I was in the middle of a good chapter and would come out when finished. Several hours later, I would join them and smile sheepishly as they rolled their eyes at me.

“I consider as lovers of books not those who keep their books hidden in their storage chests and never handle them, but those who, by nightly as well as daily, use them, thumb them, batter them, wear them out… who fill out all the margins with annotations of many kinds, and who prefer the marks of a fault they have erased to a neat copy full of faults.”

Erasmus

A decade ago, I used to read at least three books a week and as 2016 drew to an end, I realized that I had read only 20 or so books throughout the year. For me, that is unacceptable! It’s also simply not in character. Clearly my priorities were all wrong. This will change in 2017.

So I encourage each of you to pick up a good book and take the time to savour each word. Then pick up another.

Happy reading!

P.S. In case you’re wondering, this is not a photo of me. I hail from the Baby Boomer generation. This is a photo of a young Millennial who is clearly enjoying a good read.

My Books, My Friends

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“A book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it, or explore an explosive idea without fear it will go off in your face.  It is one of the few havens remaining where a man’s mind can get both provocation and privacy.”

~ Edward P. Morgan

When I was a young girl, my mother would often call out to me and say “Your friends are at the front door.  They want to know when you’ll be going out to play.”   From my bedroom,  where I was curled up in my armchair like a content puppy — nose deep in a gripping novel, I would shout back (adjusting my glasses, as I did so): “Tell them I’ll be out as soon as I finish this chapter!”  Ten chapters later, my mother would peek around the door and say “Go out and get some fresh air. Your friends will begin to think that you don’t like them anymore.”  Reluctantly, I would put a bookmark in my book and then, very lovingly, place it down on the side table.  I’d walk past my mother, who smiled and shook her head (did she actually roll her eyes at me … really?).  

Many decades later, nothing much has changed.  With a few exceptions.  My mother died over seven years ago and I miss her so much that it hurts.  My childhood friends still live in Canada (while I now live in South Florida).  But, we still keep in touch.  Thank goodness for Facebook!

As fate would have it, my husband likes to spend some time in the company of his own mind, as I do.   So, when I get lost inside my head, reading a thought-provoking piece of fiction or non-fiction, I am rarely interrupted. 

Virtually every room in our house has bookshelves filled with books.  Every possible discipline — from literature, biographies, history, law and philosophy to engineering, architecture, music and art.  And everything in between.  

They are not there for show.  I say this because a few people (not readers themselves) have actually asked whether we truly read them!  We read them.  Some, we’ve read over and over again.

“The scholar only knows how dear these silent, yet eloquent, companions of pure thoughts and innocent hours become in the season of adversity.  When all that is worldly turns to dross around us, these only retain their steady value.”

Washington Irving

When I walk into a room full of books, I am filled with a sense of comfort and well-being.  I know every single book that is in the house and each is alphabetized and organized by discipline/category. 

Libraries are sacred sanctuaries filled with knowledge — private libraries, public libraries, university libraries …. all of them!  That wonderfully musty smell of old leather and paper, the silence (you can hear a pin drop), the rows and rows of books … it’s heaven.

“A good book is the purest essence of a human soul.”

Thomas Carlyle  (excerpt from his speech in support of the London Library, 1840)

Reading is not only good for the soul, it exercises the mind and helps reduces stress. 

Yes, my books are my friends. They are the gifts I treasure most. And, as a writer, they never cease to encourage, challenge and humble me.

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