“I am only one, but still I am one.
I cannot do everything, but still I can do something.
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the something I can do.”

Edward Everett Hale

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

The Taste of Words

When I was a student, I had a poster on the wall of my room, which showed a bookworm, eating its way through a pile of books, with the quotation by Francis Bacon: "Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested."

image: fromsmilerwithlove.com


I have always loved that quotation, because it describes so exactly what I do. When I have a new book to read, particularly if it is the latest instalment in a series, I devour it, avid to discover what happens. I sit and read and read and read, and don't stop until I've finished. Then I go back for a more leisurely second reading, savouring the words, rolling them round in the mouth of my mind, and enjoying them more deeply. I know some people who never read a book twice, and I simply cannot understand this. For me, the best books are to be read and enjoyed, over and over, until they become a part of me, "chewed and digested". They are food for thought, and some are food for my soul.

I have only recently noticed that I often think about reading in terms of taste - I will read some words and think that they are delicious. And all the words I used about reading in the previous paragraph are taste-related. Which is odd, since reading is done with the eyes, not the tongue or the teeth. Perhaps it is the internalising process that I go through when I find a book that I love - it becomes a part of me, and that is a fully sensory process, involving sight and taste and even smell (the smell of a new book is one of my favourite smells!) so that the book becomes part of my heart and mind forever.

Food for thought, and food for the soul, that is the taste of words. And I count myself blessed, that reading and books are such a huge and important part of my life.

1 comment:

  1. I remember when electronic reading devices were invented, and some people said that the book was dead - pfft, never! I don't own a kindle, and don't intend buying one. I love the feel of a book as I am reading it, and going to the library to 'browse' :)