A few weeks ago I came across a video on Youtube, a spoken word poem about girls who read. It is now one of my favorite things.
And I listened to this poem several times. And I put it on my iPod and listened to it a few more times. And then I went on Youtube again to watch the dramatization of the poem while listening to the poem. I really just adore it.
I was an English major, you don’t major in English unless you read… well there was one girl in my graduating class who majored in Literature and claimed she didn’t like to read but to be honest she and I did not really get along. I love reading, I pull my hair back and stick my nose in my copy of Game of Thrones and I pin quotes about reading onto my many pinterest boards because I love books. I love that you can open a book and fall into a different world, the words and phrases disappear and the tale plays out, and you look up later having lost all touch with time and reality.
The true magic of reading is that the things we read stay with us. We don’t put ourselves into the stories and books we read. We engage with and become friends, or enemies, with the characters. People believe its a solitary activity but in reality it is the least solitary a person can be. Of course, the best thing about reading is that it changes you. It helps you become a better person.
Just like what we eat is “what we are” what we read, watch, and put into our mind effects who we are and we can choose who we want to be by what books we choose to read. Here’s the only hitch, I don’t have time to read all the books I need to in order to be the person I want to be. In order to be that person I really need to read ALL OF THEM! Maybe not the truly trashy nonsense (and certainly not Twilight (my apologies to those of you who liked those books, I read them and they suck)). I’m a very slow reader so I have come up with a list of books that I need to read/reread in order to be the person I think that I should be. Unfortunately the list will take a very long time and my computer is almost out of battery so instead I’ll just tell you my 2014 reading list.
1) The complete works of Shakespeare and his contemporaries.
The themes and trends of Shakespeare and his greatest competitors are constants even in our strange and frightening world. Things really aren’t so different now (as Captain American says in the Avengers “I was wrong Director Fury, the world hasn’t changed a bit.”).
2) Dance with Dragons by George RR Martin
Mostly because if I don’t finish book series I get these blinding headaches that no doctor can explain but also because these books are messy. I finish a chapter and say “there will never be any happiness ever again.” That’s certainly the way it seems but just like in the Lord of the Rings we have to remember that even after so much bad has happened good can come of it. I don’t know if that’s Martin’s plan but if its not I’ll knife him in the chest. There has to be some happiness somewhere.
3) The Jane Austen Collection
I’m actually not sure if I read all of these books before. I own them all and I know I’ve read some of them. I think it is important to alienate all of your male friends by reading Jane Austen and allowing yourself to understand the struggles of women in cultures that are so very different from our own.
4) The Brothers Karamazov
I also think it is important to read Russian Literature and alienate everyone else you know.