Art Works Blog

Seven Thoughts on Reading

You've probably figured out by now that we're huge fans of reading. Not only is it fun to do, but as reported here, it has lasting, concrete benefits to our lives in general. Still don't believe us? Here are seven more reasons to love reading.

Some of us read rapaciously and with mysterious agendas of our own. And I’d hazard that the more we---or our communities---have been disenfranchised or humiliated, the harder we’ll read when we come to books. Because we’re not just reading, are we? We’re spying. We’re reading ourselves into societies and narratives that have excluded us. We’re trying to get inside your head. –- Parul Seghal, Literary Critic and Editor

"I think I grew up thinking that reading was this secret portal to wholesale happiness--and to an extent, and sometimes with great regret in regards to the misplaced power the word 'illiterate' holds today, I don’t think I was wrong." –- Meg Day, Poet and NEA Literature Fellow

“If we only see our own world, it's really easy to get stuck in it…. But what if we can imagine another world and see other possibilities, just through reading a book? I know it's a cliché, but it opens the door to the world. I think everything starts with curiosity. We never move forward if we don't have it.” -- Deborah Jiang-Stein, unPrison Project

"Probably every book I've ever read has changed my life in some way." –- Septime Webre, Artistic Director, Washington Ballet

 For me, literature is like blood in your veins. You don't see it, but if it stops running in the veins, life stops…. And so ever since I was a kid, literature was a place I would go where the life I could not control would become controllable. I think literature is a resistance against both the tyranny of time and of man. –- Azar Nafisi, Writer

I really believe in reading together. I think that there's so much emphasis put on making kids read, that a lot of times people lose sight of what's in it for everybody. If you sit down and read with your kid, either having your child read to you or you reading to your child at a regular time each day, it deepens the relationship. You don't have to talk about stuff; the story will do that work for you. –- Kate DiCamillo, Writer

We are assailed by a thousand sounds and images that distract us from ourselves, from our own thoughts. Reading is a way to come back into ourselves, into our soul, remember who we are, reflect on our lives, reflect on the world, reflect on other people. –- Carlos Fuentes, Writer

Why do you heart reading, and what's on your reading list this summer? Let us know in the comments! And don't forget to check out neabigread.org and find out which communities are hosting Big Reads in 2015-2016.

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