Friday, October 7, 2011


I’m sure I have mentioned this before, and I am also very sure I will mention it again…I have my mother to thank for instilling the importance of reading in me.  Our trips to the public library when I was a young girl are still precious memories for me.  I remember trying to understand the concept of someone willing to give me book after book after book – week after week after week – and all I had to do was hand them this little blue card with my name and a number on it.  I mean, I couldn’t even borrow a pencil from one of my siblings that easily!   
 I remember waiting for the latest Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew mysteries because I had read all the older copies, much like I wait now for the latest Cornwell, Patterson, Connelly, Johansen, Hoag, and others.  All of the Hardy Boys titles seem to start with The Secret of, or The Mystery of, or The Clue of…  I could never get enough of them; I could let my imagination run wild!   I’m sure some of the deductive reasoning garnered in those early mystery days has helped me many times in my life.  I guess you really never think about where your thought patterns originated, but  I have always had a gift at figuring out the ‘who done its’.  I would watch Perry Mason with my mother (her favorite show) and I would always figure out who the killer was long before Hamilton Burger did.  Ha ha ha.  It also gave me somewhat of an edge in raising 5 children.  Many times the old “Not Me” just didn’t work in our household.  I would get out the old Sherlock Holmes cap and spyglass and before long I would know exactly who had broken the aquarium, eaten all the Twinkies in the middle of the night, or taken something that belonged to someone else.  It gives me the greatest pleasure to watch all of the new detective shows now on TV, and unravel the mystery before the end.  The only problem is….I am soooo darn hard on myself when I don’t get it right.

André Kertész (1894-1985) was one of the most inventive, influential, and prolific photographers in history. For 50 years he took pictures of people reading: rich and poor, young and old, white and black, reading different things—books, magazines, newspapers, documents. The locations vary from slums to penthouse, from country setting to academic study.
Totally oblivious of the photographer, the subjects read while sitting, standing, walking, riding; they read in every conceivable place - at home, in the office, on the streetcar, on rooftops, in public parks, on crowded streets, the restaurant, the theater, the university, etc., etc., etc.    His inspiring book On Reading presents a series of these photographs taken in Hungary, France, and the United States and captures and celebrates the absorptive power and pleasure of this isolated activity. It was first published in 1971, in New York, by Grossman Publishers and has recently been reissued by W.W. Norton.  I have included just three of the photographs that struck me as especially remarkable.  I plan on going to the library and trying to get a copy of the book.  This is one of those books that I don’t think a Kindle will do justice to… 

There are many benefits to reading. I won’t try to go into detail on each one, but here are several for you to think about:
  • a good story can help you forget some of the problems in your own life.
  • can help you to cope with stress and anxiety
  • provides relaxation and escapism
  • sets a good example for younger generations.
  • is an active mental process.
  • improves your vocabulary.
  • gives you a glimpse into other cultures and places of the world.
  • improves concentration:
    • It requires you to focus on what you are reading for long periods.
  • builds self-esteem:
    • The more you read, the more knowledgeable you become.
  • improves memory:
    • Many studies show if you don’t use your memory, you lose it.
  • improves your discipline:
    • Adding book reading to your daily schedule improves discipline.
  • you always have something to talk about.
  • reduces boredom. 
I can actually go on and on about the benefits of reading, but I’m sure you get the idea.  If you want to break the monotony of a lazy, uncreative and boring life, go and grab an interesting book. Turn the pages to explore a new world filled with information and imagination.


MsCros said...

I know for a fact that reading helps reduce stress and anxiety! Retiring doesn't hurt either. lol. :-)

Arthur Croswell said...

I can not wait to see your next post

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