We derive the highest benefit by choosing the richest literature. Books might be described as either twaddle or living, to borrow a phrase from Ms. Mason. Twaddle represents simplistic writing that does little to stimulate critical thinking. In contrast, living books expand the mind, elevate the spirit, and help us grapple with meaningful questions about humanity. Living literature offers fruitful ideas and a passion for learning.
If we challenge children (and ourselves) to ingest books of merit such as To Kill a Mockingbird, Things Fall Apart, Passionate Observer, or The Medusa and the Snail, we will see exponential growth of knowledge, understanding, and humanity. The number of valuable books is countless. The reasons for reading living literature are many. Together, they promote lifelong learning:
- Reading builds vocabulary. We use language to understand our world.
- Reading develops interests. A multitude of new ideas and possibilities become apparent.
- Reading reflects humanity. We grapple with human experience in all its diversity.
- Reading introduces you. What we read helps define us to others, including universities and colleagues.
- Reading opens the world. Experiences from across the earth and beyond become ours.
- Reading boosts empathy. Our perspectives broaden, and we gain a true global understanding.
- Reading stimulates imagination. Literature places before us an endless feast of ideas.
- Reading creates thought. Cognitive structures develop from the mind’s diet.
- Reading reveals genius. We discover profound thoughts from the greatest minds.