It occurred to me as I attempt to sleep that while children are always told told they should read, they are hardly ever told why. Seriously, think of all the times you parents suggest you pick up a book or downright instructed you to. Were you ever told why you should do such a thing?
I was a curious child. I loved non-fiction books. I would spend hours investigating Stephen Beisty cross sections and reading about all sorts of topics in my visual encyclopaedia. I also had endless fact books, some favoured more than others. Though nothing challenging it stimulated my interest.
At the end of a long, relatively illustrious and successful education including 4 years at university where I never took a book out a library until this year, my MA course, I suddenly realise the enormous value in reading even if you find it a chore, as I still do.
Pointed in the correct direction the mind can be stimulated by the most weird and wonderful ideas and stories. One can read the intricate puzzles of Sherlock Holmes, the exciting colourful tales of Roald Dahl’s creation, or for the more marathon inclined, become immersed in epic adventures such as Lord of the Rings or Dickens. While this side tends to be the angle of parents and teachers alike to get children engaged what about teenagers?
Teenagers are more concerned with ideas. Well I know I was. While fiction waged over me largely (though I have read more than I let on but could still name them all given some time) I know that if I were told to sit and read biographies of amazing people, to investigate the ideas of great thinkers and given the opportunity to discuss them. Even at that age I think it would be a great asset.
I’m not going to suggest education reform and studying Shakespeare and Dickens etc is essential. However I would urge teachers and parents to tell their kids to read and then qualify it with a reason. It may take time to explain but ultimately it will be worth it. I will work on a more succinct version but shall outline it now.
By reading the works of great men one gains perspective and explanation of life’s great mysteries. One explores the depth of human experience and realises one is not alone in the questions one has about life. Reading can comfort, unsettle, inform and confuse but all to better ones self. One must remember at all times however to question what one reads as bias and deception are not beyond man’s ability and are in fact part of man’s way of surviving.
Read for intellect, perception, context and knowledge as well as voyeurism, escape and comfort. Tell the kids and teenagers this because we all know at that age we need all of those things and they can be found in books.
Not strictly band or music related but I felt this bit of writing by my friend Max deserved a reblog.
I chalk any vocabulary and literary skills I have up to the fact that I devoured books at a young age, and this has without a doubt contributed to the way I write music, specifically lyrics.
To be creative, it helps if you have influences, and those don’t necessarily come from the same medium as what you’re trying to create.