I’ve been asking myself this question. Why am I always waiting for the next great read to find its way to me when even the best of them seem to flow over and through me like a river. I recently plowed, pencil in hand, through Adam Rutherford’s A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived. Even though I was drawn to the subject and thoroughly engaged as I read, what will I remember about the probabilistic science of genetics a year from now? Will I forget the author’s name? even the name of the book? What about Rachel Joyce’s poignant and thought-provoking novel, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry? I’ve already lost track of most of the twists and turns in the remarkable journey I took with Harold.
This morning, just as I woke up, a simple answer came to me. Reading provides essential nourishment for the growth, development and continued well-being of my mind and soul. Compare it to food for the body. Individual meals may be satisfying, distasteful or hum-drum. Most are forgotten by the next day. But you can only fast for so long before your body fails.
So it is with reading. And, as with food, there is the occasional memorable feast that enlarges your knowledge, understanding and appreciation for life. Knowing Woman by Irene Claremont de Castillejo is one of the books that did this for me many years ago and on every subsequent reread. Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own is another.
An appetite for the written word is a great gift for which I’ll always be grateful.