Discover Yourself And Set Yourself Free

Jan 17, 2011

“What we become depends on what we read after all of the professors have finished with us”

-Thomas Carlyle

Over the weekend, I had a very philosophical discussion with my mother (I love such talks, truly), and one of the topics that came up was reading, books and opportunity.

Fostering a love for reading is the most inexpensive way to travel the world, to expand your mind and consequently, to discover who you are and what you are passionate about.

The thing about reading is that it doesn’t end with school, it doesn’t end because the assignment is done; it truly is a pleasurable pursuit that stays with each of us long after the last page is read.

And I believe that is what makes reading so powerful. Not only are we learning about the plot that is unfolding or the history that has taken place while we are reading, but we are enhancing our vocabulary, picking up subconsciously how to construct sentences and how to be better conversationalists. The same certainly can’t be said for television. Reading is a multi-faceted pastime.

An opportunity to be freed from our circumstances comes the moment we immerse ourselves in any given book we are interested in. Truly, to be able to read is a gift. A gift, I have to be honest, I probably take for granted.  Because it is without question that, as S.I. Hayakawa reminds us,  “. . . people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read.”

As I think most readers of blogs would agree, reading exposes us to the world, so that we are not boxed in, confined to what someone else believes.  Instead we can make up our own mind, read multiple viewpoints, get to the bottom of something.  Reading provokes a curiosity that truly is a quality which aids in successfully living a full and contented life.  To be curious is to have an innate thirst for knowledge, and to have the peace of mind in knowing that if we can’t hop on a plane and visit the country of our dreams at any given moment, we can pick up a book that is set where we would some day like to be.

Upon reading my first classic piece of literature in high school, I can vividly remember saying to myself with unedited glee, “The author is speaking about life, I can apply this to my life!” And that was the moment, however elementary my thought process was then, that I fell in love with literature. Not only do books teach us about life, but what keeps me coming back and picking up book, after book, after book, is that they can teach so much about who we are, what we can become, what mistakes not to make, and so many times, what risks to take.

“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. It is wholesome and bracing for the mind to have its faculties kept on the stretch.”

-August Hare

Without question, the focus on being well-read should be viewed as equally, if not more importantly, as looking good when we peek at ourselves in the mirror because with intelligence, comes the ability to have a quick wit and an understanding that beauty fades and intelligence remains.
Consequently, “Reading is a basic tool in the living of a good life.” Reading is a simple luxury.
Have a beautiful Monday and if you can, find time today to read something that you enjoy, but at the same time challenges you.



14 thoughts on “Discover Yourself And Set Yourself Free

  1. I absolutely love reading and i’m currently reading ‘Two lipsticks and a lover’. I read it a few times last year and i absolutely love it because it makes me feel like i’m in France and learning something about adding luxury to my daily life. I’m completely obsessed with France and Italy (food, lifestyle and language) so i decided to read this again to get me into the “je ne sais quoi” mode :). All i need to do now is polish my French

    xoxo Hermine

  2. Reading while waiting for a bus is a total icebreaker! When I was just holding a book the other day at the bus stop turned out to get me a date! And it’s not the first time it’s happened either 😉

  3. You said this so well…I love reading and in fact did a post today about libraries and how I go on “reading binges”…where I will read 3 or 4 books voraciously then read nothing for a period of time….but it can really bring us somewhere else and thats what I love about reading, the ability to take us away. I love the list above btw!
    This is a wonderful blog, will follow you for sure.
    Please check out my new blog (especially today since we are on the subject of reading) the blog is about the building of our new home and my passion for decor and design.
    http://www.theenchantedhome.blogspot.com

  4. Miss Sofie – Thank you for sharing – very impressive and most certainly something to keep in mind. 🙂

    Hermine – what a great idea! Books really can rev your excitement for a goal you have set for yourself.

    Enchanted Home – thanks for stopping by and, yes, books really do allow you to travel free of charge.

  5. Amen! I wrote a couple weeks ago about exercising the mind as well as the body as per Oliver Sacks’ op ed piece in the Times. A beautiful person is boring if there is nothing behind the facade.

  6. Hi lovely. I can’t imagine not having a dog and I can’t imagine not having a book that I’m in the process of reading. And as soon as I see that I’m almost to the end of one, I HAVE to have another at the ready. I don’t have very much time during a day to read, but HAVE to have my book with me to pull out whenever I have a moment or am having lunch alone or am waiting for an appointment or sitting by the fire at the end of a day. And always, always, I read in bed just before falling asleep. I’d love to travel more. I suppose I do it everyday without realizing it. 😉

  7. Thank you so much for writing this post. I found you through one of my friends on twitter and have been reading your lovely blog ever since.

    I’m going to school right now to become a middle or high school language arts/reading teacher for exactly this reason. I love to read. Love love love it and can’t wait to share my love of it with all my students. I don’t have time to read novels like I would like to because I’m so busy with school so during the winter holidays I read constantly. I read all of Anna Karenina in two weeks.

  8. That is a great post, I absolutely love books, and I am a huge fan of the public library. It is still a challenge for me to fully understand books in english but I keep trying and have a dictionary by my side…

  9. Great Post. I love love love to read. I’ve been frustrated because lately, I’ve been so busy that I haven’t been able to read the books I have. I’m always buying books and some are from 4 or 5 years ago and still haven’t read them, but eventually I always do. Some have to inspire me. Occassionally I need a no brainer trash book and sometimes I want something deep. There is nothing better than sitting on my porch or out in our front yard during the summer and cracking a new book. Love the post.

  10. Wonderfully said! I have always wanted to travel extensively but timing and funds have been an issue. Reading has allowed me to experience places I may never get to see. It has always been my escape. And it always, ALWAYS feels like an indulgence!

  11. This post is so well written, so true, and so important. You described the beauty of books in such a wonderful and captivating way. Thank you for sharing this post.. I’m so glad I stumbled upon that first picture and was curious enough to find the source which led me to this post.

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