Reading literature, for me, is about gaining more insight into myself, other people's minds and experiences and the world...
I think back to when I was little and certain characters, helped along by my imagination, came to life and kept me company. I grew up, if not a lonely child, then at least a somewhat isolated one. Early on I realized that Laura and Mary from Little House on the Prairie could keep me company. I could be one of the sisters in the room that the author just forgot to mention. I dressed up like Laura for Halloween and I pretended to be a pioneer. I wanted to be these characters. Of course there were countless other books of childhood, but for the most part the characters were who I wanted to be.
As I got older, I was intrigued by getting out of my comfort zone. I found colorful characters almost ridiculously unlike myself. To imagine the possibilities of all of the imagined ways to live a life, all of the imagined ways these lives can intertwine and impact each other. That was compelling. I read all of John Irving's books, loved science fiction and fantasy, and enjoyed some of Hemingway, to name a few.
At some point beyond these early years, I became fascinated not just by the characters in the book but by the minds of the authors and the worlds in which they lived that are reflected in their imaginings they share with us. Reading gives me a window, however hazy, into another person's mind. I can get a feel for the time and place in which they live or have lived. Jane Austen lived quite awhile ago, but I feel like I know her a bit after having read characters of hers and realizing that these characters still seem to be among us in their modern trappings. Authors from other places, Jhumpa Lahiri, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, bring the world to me from where they are. I can see for this moment where they live and learn a bit about their interpretation of the world.
And now, I read for all of these reasons: to know myself, to know others, and to know the world.
MERCI À TOUS NOS MECENES