Monday, November 22, 2010

Five minutes

I have mentioned before about a BBC programme called Five Minutes With, which is an interview that lasts five minutes with a well-known person. This weekend, I was listening to an interview with Alain de Botton and he made some comments about reading and writing:

I think people become intellectual because of disturbance. My goal raising my own children is that they will never read a book or at least not be that dramatically inclined towards writing and reading ... because, I think, as I say, reading and writing is a response to anxiety often having a basis and childhood and, as I say, I hope to quench at least some of that need in my children.

I think there is some truth to what he says about intellectualism – that we can try and rationalise and to understand through expressing, or reading other people’s expression or understanding of, an issue or life in general. But a life without reading would seem a strange and alien one to me. Reading can be a great pleasure, a form of escapism, a way to challenge our own view or discover ideas that you would otherwise never have even considered. Sometimes there can be nothing more satisfying than sitting down with a good book, and not because it is intellectual or stretching, but because it is not. It is a pleasure in and of itself. What a shame it would be to miss out on the joy that can come from reading – and indeed in learning to express ourselves through the written word.


Claire Wilson said...

It would make sense for one who had experienced anxiety in childhood to want to escape into a written world. I know I did as a child. But I agree with you, wouldn't it be such a shame to miss out on the joy of reading books?!

Random Reflections said...

CW - I hope you're well. I think reading is a form of escapism, but it can also be so much more. What a shame to miss out on so many things by not ever reading.

I will catch up with your blog very soon.