Reading is life’s tonic

I seek sanctuary in reading. My problem is that I mull things over too much in my head. All kinds of things, work, family, local issues, global issues. It is a good problem to have. If these are the only concerns in mind then it proves your primitive need for food, safe shelter and water have been served. This is the luxury for those of us lucky enough to live in a developed world. Those in third-world countries don’t have the luxury to think through problems over work or social issues, they are too busy seeking food for their family or somewhere safe to shelter from conflict.

I don’t like mulling or stewing over issues as it is not productive. So, to slow down my over-active brain (although over-active in all the wrong areas I hasten to add), I pick up a book. In fact, I cannot sleep without first dipping my nose into a book. My sister-in-law very kindly sent a package to my daughter, which arrived today. I had no idea she had sent it, which made it all the more enjoyable for my daughter. Inside it were three excellent children’s books: Stig of the Dump, The Iron Man and a Morpurgo tale. Enclosed was a beautiful handwritten letter giving her rationale for having sent the books. There is a paragraph that I would like to repeat in this blog post:

“If you read well, you will write well. And from those…you will think well, because you have a cupboard full of knowledge in your head, that you can open anytime, anywhere.”

This struck a chord with me as I have been recently enjoying Thomas Hardy’s ‘Tess of the Durbervilles’. His prose is beautiful and the literary equivalent of a glass of wine after a long day.It helps to clear out all the negative rubbish that builds up in my mental ‘cupboard’ and replaces it with articulate and stunning descriptions of the British countryside in a bygone era.  What hasn’t dated however, is his observations of society and personal struggles in love, friendship and family. These have very much stood the test of time and still strike a chord today. 

I also recommend reading Hardy novels out loud. Yesterday I needed to wake my baby boy up but wanted to do it gently. I opened the curtains and busied myself tidying his room and still he slept soundly. So I sat down in the rocking chair, switched on my Kindle and began reading to him. It sounded even more beautiful when read out loud and it took a good few pages before baby boy stirred. I like to think the vocabulary and creativity filtered into his consciousness as he slept. It is detox for the brain and is wonderful to go to sleep with and wake up to. It helps to make this sometimes shitty world more tolerable and add another dimension to all of our worlds, whoever we are, wherever we are reading it and however we choose to be inspired by it.

I am blogging every day to raise money for Unicef. I am hoping fellow bloggers will donate to the campaign – see how well the campaign is doing so far here.

Thanks for reading.

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