Much of the nation suffered through a cold spell last week, with blizzard conditions in the Northeast, snow in northern Florida, where such an occurrence is rare, and misery widespread. It was good weather for staying home and curling up with a good book.
With many places of business closed due to life-hazardous conditions and impassable roads, if you aren’t a police officer or firefighter, doctor or nurse, or other crucial worker, you probably stayed home from work. As you hunkered down in the relative warmth of a weather-chilled house, what use did you make of your free time?
I hope you read a book. Or several.
As you know by now if you follow these weekly blogposts, I encourage reading. (And no surprise there, given that I’m a writer.) I encourage reading by people of all ages, from young ones just learning to sound out “C – A – T…cat!” to seniors with time on their hands and perhaps limitations on their physical abilities, and all ages in between. It’s those “in-betweens” who often need the most encouragement to read.
In the hurry-scurry of life’s everyday demand, most adults who are not retired, especially if they’re raising kids, have little discretionary time. If they do have a free hour, claimed by neither household tasks nor work obligations, they’re likely to spend it on the internet, having a drink with a friend, or vegging out in front of the TV.
And that’s a darned shame. They could be reading.
Books can enrich our lives in so many ways. To begin with, reading is relaxing. But it’s also informative. Nonfiction especially, from history to how-tos, biography to self-help—not to slight the categories I’ve omitted—can be downright educational and helpful. But even fiction has its informative moments. Fiction set in real places can take you on a revealing journey, carrying you to the Scottish highlands, the Midwest of the American pioneers, or the trenches of the First World War. Fiction can also give you an insight into how other people feel, act and react, and cope with problems either common or extraordinary. Even fiction set in the distant future, in a far-away galaxy, or in a dystopian parallel universe can often instruct and inform—or at least open our eyes and make us think.
There’s so much to be gained from books. What’s not to like about reading?
So the next time the weather—or the flu, or a layoff at work, or some other circumstance—has you shut in, make sure you have a good book as a companion.