I had a lovely surprise this morning which has put me in a tender and sentimental mood; a book from Ex Libris arrived for me in the post – the first of the John Dunning crime novels which I had read about and coveted at Patternings, but which are notoriously hard to get hold of in the UK. It looks fab, and I can’t wait to settle down to it with my cup of tea. It’s just so happened that lately several bloggers have been extraordinarily generous with offers to help me find books – Random Jottings, A Work in Progress and Patternings have all rushed to my assistance in various book quests and I am left marvelling again at the spirit of helpfulness and cooperation amongst book bloggers. What a community this is!
Now I know you are not supposed to say that reading literature makes you a better person; it’s probably true in any case that it doesn’t. But I do feel that certain qualities and character traits do crop up time and again in people who love literature. I could go on at length describing the generalised life stance of the book lover, but I won’t; suffice it to say that I’ve noticed that several book bloggers have been suffering one way or the other of late, feeling overworked, or under the weather, or damaged at the level of their vitality. Here’s a reminder of some of the fine life strategies that excessive pleasure gained from reading can provide you with:
1. No matter what the trouble is, given time we can turn it into a compelling anecdote for the edification, entertainment or moral education of others.
2. It’s not a fail safe plan, but it’s amazing how many times a really good book can take you out of yourself, cheer you up, or distract you from the insufficient present. Literature can always provide examples of people who have been through worse and still managed to find something funny to say about it.
3. People who like reading books like searching for the meaning in things, and it’s a proven fact that finding significance in what we do and in the events that happen to us, good or bad, is a way of procuring pleasure from life.
4. The really bad things: trauma, bereavement, illness and neuroses, can often only be assuaged by a slow and cautious process of transformation into narrative. Never underestimate the power of stories; they have provided us with a lifeline through the vagaries of existence since the birth of language. The more stories we have at our disposal, the more of those lifelines we hold in our hands.
5. Book bloggers have an extra support group: we have each other. There’s always something interesting going on, and there’s always a ready audience for the daily trials and tribulations. Reassuring, no?
Now by this point you are either feeling the warm fuzzies, or you are feeling nauseous, so I’ll bring my love-in to an end, with a reminder that you gain my profound appreciation just by turning up and reading my posts every so often! Ok, enough already! Back to the usual business tomorrow.