Thursday, July 26, 2012

Reading is GOOD

In a very real sense, then, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read. To have read Gulliver's Travels is to have had the experience, with Jonathan Swift, of turning sick at the stomach at the conduct of the human race; to read Huckleberry Finn is to feel what it is like to drift down the Mississippi River on a raft; to have read Byron is to have suffered with him his rebellions and neuroses and to have enjoyed with him his nose-thumbing at society; to have read Native Son is to know how it feels to be frustrated in the particular way in which Negroes in Chicago are frustrated. This is the great task that affirmative communication performs: it enables us to feel how others felt about life, even if they lived thousands of miles away and centuries ago. It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we  can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish.

Extract from Language in Thought and Action - S.I. Hayakawa.1939.

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