Sunday, September 4, 2011

Tell me, please: What role has reading played in your life?

Dr. Mardy Grothe is a phenomenon. A psychologist by training, he is an author and, as his website puts it, an engaging and entertaining speaker who gives scores of seminars every year to CEO groups that are part of an international network known as The Executive Committee (TEC).

I connected with him last April after reading his book Viva La Repartee, subtitled "Clever comebacks and witty retorts from history's great wits and wordsmiths". We had an engaging, entertaining, and enlightening e-mail conversation, which later formed the basis of a Reading Room post: "It all depends on the telling, sure. But surely who does the telling matters?"

Soon afterwards, Dr. Grothe added my name to his mailing list now every Saturday I receive an e-mail from the good doctor with the subject line "Dr. Mardy's Quotes of the Week".

When I checked my e-mail this morning, this was waiting for me in my in-box:


When I was a young boy growing up in North Dakota [USA], I took to reading very early, and my mother, an eighth-grade graduate and an avid reader, did everything she could to encourage me. When the library bookmobile made its weekly visit to our small town, mom always came home with an armful of books. I would quickly make my way through the ones she chose for me, and then move on to the ones she selected for herself. I'll always be grateful for her role in establishing what has become one of my greatest joys.

The quotations below are a testament to the importance of reading, especially when it is developed at an early age. No matter what your age, though, reading is one of the keys to a meaningful life. Over the years, I have collected well over a hundred quotations on the value or importance of reading. This week, I feature a dozen of my favourite observations on the subject:

      "Reading is a basic tool in the living of a good life."
             Mortimer J. Adler

  "The reading of all good books is like conversation
   with the finest men of the past centuries."
         Rene Descartes

      "Who would call a day spent reading a good day?
       But a life spent reading that is a good life."
             Annie Dillard

  "There is creative reading as well as creative writing."
         Ralph Waldo Emerson

      "My early and invincible love of reading
       I would not exchange for all the riches of India."
             Edward Gibbon

  "To read a writer is for me not merely to get an idea of what he says, but to go off with him, and travel in his company."
         Andre Gide

      "To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all of the miseries of life."
             W. Somerset Maugham

  "No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting."
         Mary Wortley Montagu

      "I've never known any trouble that an hour's reading didn't assuage."
             Charles de Montesquieu

  "Reading is equivalent to thinking with someone else's head
   instead of with one's own."
         Arthur Schopenhauer

      "Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body."
             Richard Steele

  "How many a man has dated a new era in his life
   from the reading of a book!"
         Henry David Thoreau

Thank you, Dr. Mardy, for renewing my faith in the belief that you are what you read.

Also read:
  • (March 6, 2011) Commitscion Padmini Nandy Mazumder, Class of 2011, shared this link on her Facebook wall: "Date a girl who reads". It is a beautifully articulated argument in favour of reading. So read it. Please.

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