On Reading

By Ronda Simmons

I was called bookworm when I was a kid. It wasn’t a compliment.

Look at me now.

Now I wear that label with pride. I have never met a writer that is not also an avid reader. We love books, bookstores, bookstalls, libraries, our friends’ bookshelves . . . just give us some written words, and we’re happy.

Fortunately, it’s our JOB to read. As Steven King said, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”

We read not only to improve our craft but also because we just absolutely love it. Pity the fool who doesn’t take this need seriously.



The artist of this painting, Rita Curtis, calls this piece “Never Enough Books,” but I call it, “Interrupt my reading one more time and I will break your arms.”
 
Books are the best travel companions.

We can’t travel without bringing a book with us, and by traveling, I mean any time we will be away from home for longer than half an hour. One never does know when one might have to wait at a doctor’s office, or at a railroad crossing, or for a friend who is late. We don’t mind if we have a book.

In fact, we relish it.

How many books do you pack when you go on vacation? For me, it’s a minimum of three, plus a Kindle device and backup eBooks on my phone. Even then, I worry that I’ll run out of reading material. On more than one occasion, my ever-so-patient husband has had to remind me that, “They sell books where we’re going, you’ll be fine.”

And yet, I worry that I won’t be, so I’ll sneak an extra book or two into my carry-on bag. Our travel plans could go sideways. We could end up stranded. No worries, I’ve got books.

Bookworms

I know I’m not alone because all bookworms are the same. Just ask us if we’ve read anything good lately and see our eyes light up as we wax poetically about our latest literary findings. (Side note: in France, a bookworm is called a buveur d’encre, a drinker of ink, don’t you love that?)

I have a hard time connecting with anyone who can genuinely say, “I just really don’t like to read.” Are they even human? Who doesn’t love getting lost in a book? 

“Those who spend the greater part of their time in reading or writing books are, of course, apt to take rather particular notice of accumulations of books when they come across them. They will not pass a stall, a shop, or even a bedroom-shelf without reading some title. If they find themselves in an unfamiliar library, no host need trouble himself further about their entertainment.” 

M.R. James describes us perfectly.

Can you resist glancing over the titles on your friends’ bookshelves? What have they read that you haven’t? Do you get that frisson of delight when you find that they have some of the same books you do? 

Benefits of Reading Books

The Pleasures of Reading

Why We Read And What Books Do for The Human Experience

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