Advantages Of Reading

Earlier this week, I had a little fun with Facebook; I held a little quote/lyric contest, promising to write about the quotes/lyrics that my winners submitted. And the winning quote is:

"The man who DOES NOT read has no advantage over the man who CANNOT read." -- Mark Twain

What an impactful statement about the way we as humans sometimes simply refuse to live up to our potential. What good is literacy - what good is the ability to read and absorb - if you choose not to do it? We live and dream, every one of us, and each of us has the inherent ability to reach out and take our dreams in our hands, to make them real and walk through them the way we walk through our homes.

But we don't do it.

The first romance novel I ever read was by Johanna Lindsey, a historic romance called Love Only Once - and I'm pretty sure if my father had known what was in that drugstore paperback, he'd never have agreed to buy it, but I think he was just proud that he'd offered to buy something for his only daughter and she chose a big ol' book. He didn't know that I'd sit on my butt all afternoon reading it, lost in the story of a wild womanizer tamed by an accidental romance. He didn't know that I'd sit up until the wee hours of the morning, reading in the closet with the light on because I simply COULD NOT go to bed without finishing the story.

He probably didn't know how HOT certain chapters of that book were, either. I still get red in the face when I remember reading those pages for the first time. So much of what's good about love, I learned in the characters of books that I read. I learned patience, I learned forgiveness, I learned to try again.

In books, I've learned crafts. On blogs, I've learned to build furniture - and to knit. I've found peace in books. I've found God in books. I've found acceptance for the harder aspects of my life in books. And yes, I've found great sex in books.

When I look back, I can't imagine my life without all the ways reading blessed me. I can't imagine myself without the impact that reading has had on me as a woman, as a Christian, as a mother. As a person.

But you know, that impact isn't simply because I can read. That growth that I have sought and found in books, blogs, magazines, and other sources ... it isn't there simply because I can read.

It's there because I choose to read. And if I chose not to, I might find myself as stagnant as an old forgotten bucket of lake water, not growing, not changing, not even stirring slightly to freshen myself in a breeze.

For those who are literate, those who have the treasured ability to read and don't use it, the quote is true. Those people who choose not to utilize such a powerful ability ... well, they miss out on so much of what they could be. And it's sad. It's such a waste.

And so I leave you with this call to action:


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  1. Thanks for choosing my quote to expound upon :-) I don't really have quotes that I keep in mind for occasions such as these, so I went hunting online to find some that grabbed my attention. I have never really thought about reading as being a choice, and this quote made me think. As humans, we have to choose to do the things that we are capable of doing. Literacy is a gift that isn't bestowed upon all people, and I think those who are able should appreciate and use that ability.


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