Reading on Our Terms

For many of us who have grown up in America, reading literature is like eating green vegetables or going to church on Sunday. We stopped doing it once we left the house.

When we became masters of our own time, we ditched what was difficult, even if  what we ditched was something we knew we should do.

Let’s be honest — we have the right to call our own shots, for better or for worse, and the world respects it. No one can take away our choice to indulge in an easy night of television after a hard day of work. And no one can make us pick up literature when we know that a movie is faster entertainment.

And so, we don’t really read.

We don’t read the best literature. We don’t read enough literature. We don’t read literature at all. The last time we had a good time reading serious literature was when, exactly?

We’re not stupid. We understand the difference between someone who cannot read and someone who can read but does not make the effort to do it. We know that we have not given literature a good try and found it to be a waste of time, but that we have found literature difficult and therefore have not given it a good try.

We accept responsibility for our decision because we know our limits. We are not the literature types, and we don’t pretend to be who we are not.

And yet we grown-up children of America have more strength now than at any time in our lives. We have the strength of endurance and the strength of focus. We have the strength of retention and the strength of experience. Nobody talks over our heads anymore, because we understand as much about life as anyone else. We know wisdom when we hear it.

We have matured immeasurably. Our need for meaning has grown. Our desire for connections has deepened.

If we are going to read at all, we are going to do it on our terms. It is not because we too picky or too busy; it is because we don’t read.

The enemy tells us that the way things have been for us in the past is the way things will be with us forever. The enemy is a liar.

Even if we have never read well before, we have the capacity to be intense readers. We have the capacity to get just as much meaning and pleasure our of literature as people who read themselves to sleep every night.

New Q literature feeds this hunger to make connections within ourselves and within our world. New Q is worth the effort we put into it.

 

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