Monday, May 14, 2012


     I will always be grateful to a physician at a local hospital for a visit he paid to my classroom a few years ago.  In his free time, he is a faithful reader, and he left us with some useful thoughts about reading. He told us, for instance, that he doesn’t “like” all of his patients, but that he tries to appreciate their worth as distinctive and special human beings, and he said the same is true of his reading. He doesn’t love every book he reads, but he does try to be thankful for their literary value and the common sense they may carry in their pages. I’ve often talked to my students about that very difference between liking and appreciating, so I silently celebrated when he said that. He also said that, to him, life is like an endless hallway with a limitless number of doors leading off from it. He said that when he reads a book, he opens one of the doors, which in turn leads to countless other doors, which lead to more and more doors. He told us we can’t possibly open all the doors in this hallway, but we must remember that each book we read leads to a never-ending number of discoveries. Each book is the beginning of a new life of revelation and recognition. Finally, he said that, when we read, we must try to make the book “ours”. Until we get completely “into” the book and truly make it our own, it remains just a scattering of words on pages. If we make it ours -- by annotating it, taking notes in a journal, talking to other people about it, or just reading it with responsibility and passion -- book after book can bring our lives to completely new places.

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