The Way I See It

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RECENTLY, I’ve been asking myself the question: What luxury do I treasure most in life? Now my definition of a luxury and your idea of one may be completely different. However, it took me less than 30 seconds to come to the conclusion that the answer is my ability to be able to read.

It might surprise you this week that I’ve chosen to write about something I love, rather than vent my frustrations about this, that and the other. At times I am actually a happy person, really!

Why would I perceive the ability to read as a luxury? That’s quite easy, really, as in Britain alone it’s estimated that eight million adults are illiterate. To me, this is truly awful, and I really can’t comprehend not being able to read or write.

Not only for the joy that reading can bring you, but also if you can’t read or write it’s very unlikely that you’re going to find a job and a pretty tough life seems almost inevitable. Illiteracy is something I feel we should be tackling head on. And it’s imperative that campaigns to get children reading continue apace. As a child your imagination is a powerful entity, and there is nowhere better to channel it than in the realms of a good book.

As the saying goes: ‘You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink’ – and it’s likewise with children and reading. I’m not suggesting we should force children to bury themselves in books night after night. Although I do believe that some gentle persuasion is not such a bad idea.

Immersing yourself in a brilliant book is something that I just love to do. Specifically fiction, maybe that’s the inner author in me trying to feel close to my writing heroes. Or it’s just the case that I can lose myself in a good novel much easier than say a movie or a television series.

For me, when you’re watching a movie, you can always feel yourself in the location, perhaps in the cinema or sprawled on the couch. But when you’ve been hypnotised by the skill of a masterful writer, it doesn’t matter where in the world you are, sitting in a crowded coffee shop, alone in your bedroom or even travelling on the train.

You become a part of the story and travel through the scenes, letting your imagination run wild while bonding with each and every character who captures your attention. I think reading is a far more rewarding experience than visual entertainment, and it’s a luxury I appreciate more than anything. But hey, that’s just the way I see it.