Back in June 2007, I wrote a post about a website called “What is Stephen Harper reading?” Yann Martel, a Canadian author is sending a book to the PM Stephen Harper each fortnight in an effort to encourage his stillness. On the site you can read the letter that accompanies each book. The letters he writes and the descriptions of the book are fantastic. He has such a unique way of looking at things. It is very inspiring. I don’t know if he has succeeded with the PM but he has certainly encouraged my stillness. And one of my first resolutions for this year is to try to be even stiller. Anyway, here is a quote from one of his letters:

“The great thing about reading books is that it makes us better than cats. Cats are said to have nine lives. What is that compared to the girl, boy, man, woman who reads books? A book read is a life added to one’s own. So it takes only nine books to make cats look at you with envy.

And I’m not talking here only of “good” books. Any book—trash to classic—makes us live the life of another person, injects us with the wisdom and folly of their years. When we’ve read the last page of a book, we know more, either in the form of raw knowledge—the name of a gun, perhaps—or in the form of greater understanding. The worth of these vicarious lives is not to be underestimated. There’s nothing sadder—or sometimes more dangerous—than the person who has lived only his or her single, narrow life, unenlightened by the experience, real or invented, of others.”

2 thoughts on “

  1. I have always known there is an intrinsically important value in reading and, that one is not just lazing around when one is reading, but the value is often hard to describe. I think this Martell guy has described so beautifully and poetically the wonderfully reading. I feel excited to be an english teacher.

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