Thursday, May 31, 2007
More words about reading
Ok, I know I've been talking a lot about reading and writing. I think I'm about done. I'm pretty much through this phase. I have one more book about reading and writing beside my bed but I may return it to the library without even reading it. I need to get reading for my dissertation* and writing things of educational relevance rather than living in my fictional "leisure reader and writer" world.

Anyway...I almost held back on this post for fear you all are sick of reading about reading. That would make sense. But then I was typing up my favorite quotes from a recent read (a strange habit that I'm glad I have...I love looking back at little gems I've picked up from a variety of authors) and I realized that I have a passage too beautiful not to share.

I finished Anna Quindlen's How Reading Changed My Life a few weeks back. It was fantastic. She does a nifty thing at the end--she lists a variety of "top ten" books. 10 Books Recommended by a Really Good Librarian. 10 Good Book Club Suggestions. 10 of the Books My Exceptionally Well-Read Friend Ben Says He's Taken the Most From. But the best! thing from the book was this passage:

Yet in her sorrow there was joy, the remembered joy of someone who had been a reader all her life, whose world had been immeasurably enlarged by the words of others. Perhaps it is true that at base we readers are dissatisfied people, yearning to be elsewhere, to live vicariously through words in a way we cannot live directly through life. Perhaps we are the world’s great nomads, if only in our minds. I travel today in a way I once dreamed of traveling as a child. And the irony is that I don’t care for it very much, I am the sort of person who prefers to stay at home, surrounded by family, friends, familiarity, books. This is what I like about traveling: the time on airplanes spent reading, solitary, happy. It turns out that when my younger self thought of taking wing, she wanted only to let her spirit soar. Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.

I. LOVE. THAT. I wish desperately that I had written it.

Of course, Quindlen broke my heart when she suggested that my life-changing book (The Heart is a Lonely Hunter) is a bit of a cliché.

And more than a few were like one woman, who said of The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, “I read it when I was fourteen, when I didn’t feel like anybody understood how I felt. And here is this book about a fourteen-year-old girl who had the same feelings I did.”

Apparently, I'm predictable. *sigh*

A lovely work. You should pick it up.

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4 Comments:

Anonymous Alicia said...

That is a really beautiful paragraph.
Thanks for sharing it.
You have also inspired me to keep a record of the passages I like the most. I used to do it but, for whatever reason, I stopped.
It's not that strange a habit, I think.
Some people collect stamps, others collect words.

Blogger Kourtney said...

I always wish that I could write things like that as well.....some people wish to be a singer, model or movie star and I would love to have the ability to make words sound more then just words when others read them....

I have added this book to my list. That list is long but it is on there just the same....just as The Corrections :)

Blogger kristen said...

It is a very quick read...only maybe 100 pages.

Beautiful post! Thanks for sharing! I usually underline parts of a book that I like, but now I am going to actually collect them together now, so I can look back through them. Thanks a lot for the review!

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