Monday, April 27, 2009

Why Do We Read?

In case you missed it, the Los Angeles Times invited 13 authors to share their opinions on this burning issue, and put together a full-page replication of their answers. Since it's about the only part of the Sunday paper I read, here are my highlights:

  • We read to free ourselves from the grind and the misery and big ticking time-bomb questions of life. . . . We all need contemplative time, time away, time in another world altogether. (T.C. Boyle, author of The Women: A Novel)

  • Books have the power to be the light we are seeking at crucial moments in our lives. Reading helps us realize we are not alone, that we can change our circumstances and even achieve the impossible. (Gioconda Belli, author of Infinity in the Palm of Her Hand, a novel of Adam and Eve)

  • The library was where I made my best friends. . . . books are ultimately about stimulating imagination and broadening a worldview. In my South-Central neighborhood, Dickens more than did the job. (Erin Aubry Kaplan, journalist)

  • I read because it is one of the very few satisfying escapes from reality that isn't fattening and doesn't destroy brain cells. (Amy Koss, author of Side Effects)

And my favorites:

  • . . . you're sitting right there, reading, and you're anywhere, everywhere. (Veronique de Turenne, blogger, who co-authored Port of Los Angeles: An Illustrated History with Ernest Marquez)

  • [answering the question Why do we read?] . . . the world I found myself in didn't come up to my standards. I was 11 at the time. So I went to the library. . . Now, if my life doesn't come up to my standards . . . I still open a book. (Carolyn See, author of Golden Days and The Handyman)

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