“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

Friday, 9 May 2014

A Good Read

I am very grateful to my friend Jane for sharing a post by Kester Brewin, which appeared in Huffington Post UK, about reading as a spiritual practice. The paragraph that particularly caught my attention read:

some of my good reads - the bookshelf is horizontal; the photo is not!
"To read widely, and often, is thus to hope to be changed, to still believe that change is possible. It is never, ever a waste of time. Be it an essay or short story or novel or article, a good read never goes unanswered, because a good read opens up a world that requires our attention. That might be the inner world of the self, it might be the domestic world of a family relationship, or it could be the plight of a whole people."

"A good read opens up a world that requires our attention." Yes. I think that this is so true. A good read can change your life, whether it is how you see yourself, how you relate to other people or other living beings, or the rest of creation, or it might galvanise you into action. I have posted before on this blog about "Ah! Books", which fundamentally change your way of thinking. Ship of Thought in March 2012. I wrote then:

"Yet few things give me greater delight than the discovery of a new book that makes me think; that makes me see the world and everything in it in a new light. In his introduction to Mister God, This is Anna, Vernon Sproxton speaks of Ah! Books, "those which induce a fundamental change in the reader's consciousness. They widen his sensibility in such a way that he is able to look upon familiar things as though he is seeing and understanding them for the first time. ... Ah! Books give you sentences which you can roll around in the mind, throw in the air, catch, tease out, analyse. But in whatever way you handle them, they widen your vision. For they are essentially Idea-creating, in the sense that Coleridge meant when he described the Idea as containing future thought - as opposed to the Epigram which encapsulates past thought. Ah! Books give the impression that you are opening a new account, not closing an old one down."

And there are new Ah! Books, new good reads, to be discovered all the time, which makes it such a joyous process. Recent discoveries of mine include Women, Food and God by Geneen Roth, Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott and An Altar in the World by Barbara Brown Taylor. And the poetry of Ellen Bass. Each of these books has made my life richer, more complex, and I am grateful.

I hope that the process of change and development will continue indefinitely, as long as there are new good books to read.

No comments:

Post a Comment