Read to understand life

Reading can even allow us to understand and connect with the world and the people around us as many writers claim. 

On one hand, Margaret Atwood believes in literacy’s influence. “Reading and writing, like everything else, improve with practice. And, of course, if there are no young readers and writers, there will shortly be no older ones. Literacy will be dead, and democracy – which many believe goes hand in hand with it – will be dead as well.”

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The books we read must have an impact on our lives as Franz Kafka suggests when he wrote to Oskar Pollak. “I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound or stab us,” he said. “If the book we’re reading doesn’t wake us up with a blow to the head, what are we reading for?”

William Faulkner, however, encourages all to catch up on reading books—regardless of what it might be about. In a Paris interview, Faulkner said, “Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it.”