Ever since I was a child, at our family gathering that coincided with the Thanksgiving holiday, we would go around the table and everyone would have to say a little something about what they were thankful for. Perhaps it was (or is) the same for you? For our hedonistic childhood selves, so unaccustomed to being thankful for anything, it often felt a bit awkward or forced. Of course now, many of us have come to sense just how empowering and grounding it can be to foster a spirit of gratitude, especially in times of darkness, anxiety and despair. One thing that many of our patrons tell us they’re grateful for, especially as the nights grow long and the days grow cold, is reading.
Let’s be grateful that we live in a world where magic exists – that “uniquely portable magic” that Stephen King likens to telepathy. Magic that calls whole lives and worlds into existence out of scratches on a page or breath. By some distinctly human trickery, we can peer inside another person’s brain, and think another person’s thoughts. What a marvel, to be all but possessed by the mind and soul and experience of another! To be moved to laughter, tears, rage and profound sympathy; to be led to fresh understandings.
We’re grateful for the loyal friendship of books, who are willing to converse with us whenever and wherever we choose, on the train or in the rain or in the bathtub; in the still watches of the night. They’ll even share us with a cat or two. Grateful that our time together is characterized by peace and quiet, free of the endless hustle and scuffle of the marketplace. That through reading, we can escape our daily or momentary “reality,” including rush hour aggravations or the relentless news cycle. Let’s be grateful that this magic can make real not just the world as it is, but as it might be, realizing our hopes, our fears, and our inspirations. Through reading we can better envision what isn’t, and in so doing more clearly see what is.
We’re grateful that books can take their own sweet time, fully expressing an idea or an experience, rather than just endlessly repeating a slogan or talking point. That reading can change how we think, and how we see the world, quietly and respectfully, without judgement or malice, in the privacy of our own minds. We are grateful that books can wake us up. And when we’re anxious, we are grateful that books can send us off to sleep. What a blessing!
– Posted by David W.