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From one book worm to another

Updated: Jan 4, 2019

San Gil, Colombia

As far back as I can remember I’ve always loved stories. When we were young my Dad used to tell us a story that he made up every night before bed. I can still vividly imagine the main character, Wallace the worm, who went on a new adventure every night: from visiting the Queen to saving his ‘village’ from disasters.

As soon as I was old enough I used to spend every penny of my pocket money on buying the beano, then the entire Famous Five and Secret Seven series followed a few years later by the Harry Potter books, queuing always to get them on the day that they came out.

Why did I, do I love reading so much? For me it’s always been a way to escape to another world. Entering another universe not only gives you a break from your own, which can sometimes be tiring, but also provides you with insight into new possibilities, ideas, places, people, actions that maybe you had never even imagined existed before.

I’ve always preferred books to films because in a film many decisions are made for you; colours, sounds, details. In a book not every detail can be written so it’s down to every reader to fill in the gaps. This becomes clear when a book is turned into a film as you’ll hear people debating as they come out of the cinema, “I hadn’t imagined he would look like that”, “Oh really? He was exactly like that in my imagination”, etc.

So reading, for me, is also a place of learning, of discovery. When you think about it writing, in any form, has always been a way of recording, documenting events. When travelling in Peru last year I discovered the Quipu, multiple lengths of string with knots that are said to have recorded many facts and figures during the Inca rule. Look further back and there have always been ways of writing, sharing information; take cave drawings for example.

Whether symbolic writing systems (cave drawings, maps, signs or tools for recording information like the quipu example) or modern writing systems (scripts, books, emails, texts, blogs!) they all share a common denominator, the sharing, transferring of information. How incredible that we should be able to learn about events that happened centuries ago all because someone wrote it down.

This is when the debate becomes interesting and is one of the reasons that I enjoy reading so much. Writing, and therefore reading, is subjective. Indeed, if ten people were asked to write down a description of an individual there is no doubt that we would have ten distinct descriptions of one same individual as everyone sees, lives, through their own prisms. Equally if ten people were to read one unique description and were asked to repeat it in their own words we would have again ten distinct descriptions. Therefore it is down to the reader to decide what they believe is their truth. Reading allows us to learn more about others beliefs and unless we decide to conform to one writer or one style then we can challenge our own beliefs, help them to evolve, forever learning and questioning what we think we know as true.

In some future posts I’ll share some of my favourite novels, authors, plays and self-development books. In the meantime please let me know what your thoughts on reading, writing, sharing information and what we can learn from it all.

#bookworm #reading #learning #imagination #freedom

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