| Heya <<First Name>>,
I’ve been traveling around the last few months …
… and I’ve had a lot of time to think about how reading with kids can change the world for the better.
But lately I’ve been wondering what reading is actually for — what does reading lead to when you’re a grownup?
Here are three things I came up with.
For what it’s worth.
1. Books make a home
Whenever I move into a new rental place, the first thing I do is set out the stack of books I’m hauling around.
Some of the current batch.
That’s because a new country can be disorienting.
(To wit: I was just in a small grocery and bought what I thought was milk. It was a yogurt drink. Which is not very good on granola, though I may get used to it.)
Books can be that stable center when life gets swirly.
2. Reading can make the mundane sublime
I had a Kafkaesque airport experience yesterday, involving all kinds of technology problems, security-line waits, and violations of my personal space.
The whole time, though, I was reading a novel (see below) I’d chanced upon at a used-book store in Tel Aviv.
Halper’s bookstore, Tel Aviv.
So instead of feeling like the world was interrupting me to death, I got to do something I enjoyed.
3. Reading feels meaningful
As my flight was coming into Antalya, Turkey, the plane hit a vivid patch of turbulence.
I barely noticed it, though, because I was racing to finish J.D. Salinger’s “Franny and Zooey” before we landed. I was anxious to see if the characters found something that felt like … purpose.
Hmm. That’s a weirdly on-the-nose analogy about the virtues of reading in a turbulent world.
But yeah, I think reading is a path for finding meaning. Not the only path, to be sure, but a really good one.
Lately I’ve been wondering if there’s even more to the idea.
Most Sunday mornings, I try to read for a while from the books in my stack. I love the reflective place I drop into during those two or three hours.
And beyond a certain (and not all that lofty) quality threshold, it almost doesn’t matter WHAT I’m reading.
It only matters THAT I’m reading.
For those few hours, I’m deeply attentive to other voices, other lives, other ideas.
Questions about what else I should be doing, producing, or achieving in my life all disappear.
Reading feels … I don’t know … devotional.
Like the reason to read is reading.
Hope you’re well, and …
… who believe that reading with kids can change the world for the better.