Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Life-Affirming Experience of Reading

This week I have been reminded time and again of the experience that literature brings to life.

You would think that in this 11th hour of holiday hubbub, shoppers would be frantic to buy whatever books remain on the shelf. But no, the readers who are giving books as gifts are very particular about the gift of language. They are calm and methodical in their quests for the perfect book, patiently listening to my staff about this storyline or that plot twist. . . .

So in our busiest season, I've realized just how much literature has a calming effect. We read so that we can have the life-affirming experience that reading a book brings. And that's why we give the gift of books.

~ Sarah Bagby of Watermark Books, Wichita, Kan., in her store's e-mail newsletter

Are you still giving books as gifts? To yourself?

What are you buying? What are you reading?

Photo: Watermark Books & Cafe, from Watermark's MySpace page. Thanks to the Shelf Awareness newsletter for this story.


Anonymous said...

My favorite gift to receive at any time is a book, but this year, money was very tight, so my wonderful spouse was unable to indulge me in the usual way with as many book as I would like. But I know that after the holidays, we will go shopping for half price calendars, which is also fun.

When my kids were growing up, they always got at least two books when they were growing up, and they looked forward to it . Can you imagine. One of them still reads almost as much as I do. And the other two probably read more than their friends, so I know that I'm ahead of the statistics.

"A room without books is like a body without a soul." -- Cicero

Always give books. They leave a lasting impression.

Malcolm R. Campbell said...

Nothing beats a book except two books. Here's why, as extracted from my Writer's Notebook blog:

Top Ten Reasons for Reading a Book Today

1. Books take you on flights of fancy without charging extra for luggage.
2. Books don't bug you with "new mail" messages every time somebody says something less interesting on MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, GoodReads, LinkedIn, or Plaxo.
3. "Memory low" messages don't appear in books the moment you get to sex scenes and other "good parts."
4. Reading exercises your brain without tiring out your butt.
5. While the royalty from the book in your hand won't buy its author a cup of coffee, it will allow him to claim he's not really unemployed.
6. You can refute the claim that most post-college reading is accidental.
7. You can experience heaven without having to be good and hell without having to go there.
8. In most jurisdictions, reading won't get you arrested even though police might throw the book at you for carrying out some of the activities described therein.
9. You can read a book without hitting a firewall while trying to "borrow" your neighbor's WiFI connection.
10. What if the book caught on fire, was taken back from the library, got stolen or was banned during the night and tomorrow was just too late?

Mark David Gerson said...

Thanks, Malcolm, for sharing this excerpt from your blog here. I love it!