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For the Love of Reading

The BBC’s #LovetoRead campaign officially culminates in #lovetoread  weekend on November 5-6. But, this week, the week before Banned Books Week seems  like the right time to remember why we love to read.

This Brain Pickings’ article on why we read shares what several famous people have found important about reading:

“Galileo saw reading as a way of having superhuman powers.  For Kafka, books were “the axe for the frozen sea within us”;  Carl Sagan held them as“proof that humans are capable of working magic”; James Baldwin found in them a way to change one’s destiny; for Polish Nobel laureate Wisława Szymborska, they stood as our ultimate frontier of freedom.

But Neil Gaiman in his speech to The Reading Agency in 2013, shares, perhaps, one of the most quoted answers to the question of why reading is important for everyone:

“[E]verything changes when we read…Fiction …[is] a gateway drug to reading…I don’t think there is such a thing as a bad book for children…We need our children to get onto the reading ladder: anything that they enjoy reading will move them up, rung by rung, into literacy…And the second thing fiction does is to build empathy…You get to feel things, visit places and worlds you would never otherwise know. You learn that everyone else out there is a me, as well. You’re being someone else, and when you return to your own world, you’re going to be slightly changed…Empathy is a tool for building people into groups, for allowing us to function as more than self-obsessed individuals.”

This—along with all your reasons you #lovetoread—is why we must keep reading ourselves and why we must keep children reading—all sorts of books, even books that feature difficult topics and gut-grabbing content, books that someone objects to.

Beginning this Sunday, September 25, look for a week-long blog review of topics about our right to read. These blogs honor the 2016 Banned Books Week and its focus on diversity in literature.