Happy Inauguration day.
Reading has been an important part of my life for about seventeen years. It started with the Narnia books, traveled to Tolkien, bloomed into SF and then expanded beyond. If we ever have kids, then I hope to encourage reading in the wee ones. Outside of the benefits of learning and brain development, I think one of the most important things is the constant challenge in perspective. We all look at the world in slightly different ways. Sometimes in vastly different ways. Reading can challenge our preconceived ideas. From blogs on the internet to Mark Twain, rarely will authors let us sit comfortably with our ignorance. Yes a person can sit within one genre and thought, but the true gift of reading is to find books that don't reinforce what you already think. This is the true fear of the fundamentalist, and why books get banned. It just occurred to me, that's why I not longer go to "Christian" book stores. I think that's why I always loved SF, it shows you the possibilities. Where ideas can take you, or the consequences of current actions. It's amazing what people like A.C. Clarke foresaw in their writing. They can also tell really cool stories, that are just fun to read. Terry Pratchett is brilliant in this way. He makes me fall down laughing, but also pokes fun at how we look at the world.
Why did I feel the need to write about this? I guess because the written word gives me hope. As long as ideas can be passed around, then the fundamentalist can't make the rest of us stay static. Also, once again America has a president that values learning and it looks like he is going to end the war on science. I think it's telling that one of the insults in the election was 'elitist', which, as far as I could tell, meant that you could read.
"Where they have burned books, they will end in burning human beings."
Heinrich Heine

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