I love to read; I always have. My parents were loving and generous, and gave me everything I needed and most everything I wanted. Of all they gave me, some of my fondest memories are of the few dollars every few months so that I could place a book order through Scholastic at school. I remembered looking over the order form, trying to decide what to buy, and then anxiously waiting for the order to arrive. Some I can’t recall why I purchased (The Fannie Farmer Cookbook), some I bought because they had been read to us in class and I wanted to read again (The Mouse and the Motorcycle), and some because I needed to get them (John F. Kennedy’s Profiles in Courage, which I didn’t really appreciate it in the fifth grade, but I remember getting it).
Today, I have lots of books, some read, some to be read, and some to simply have. I also subscribe to more magazines and journals than I can read, not to mention the on-line reading I have. I also receive the Naval War College Review every quarter and one of the first articles I read is John E. Jackson’s very short column Reflections on Reading. The Spring 2019 issue contained his column on what influential leaders had to say about the importance of reading in their lives. It was based on the post Leaders are readers!—Top 20 influential book lovers posted on October 20, 2016 at smartandrelentless.com.
Of the quotes in the column and the web post, one really has meaning to me. Martin Luther King, Jr. is quoted as saying “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” And of course, one way of obtaining, and maintaining and education, is reading. I have found that my closest friends are readers. My most interesting conversations are with those who read and read broadly. When discussing politics, I avoid talking to people who do not read because they simply do not have the knowledge to engage in true discussion and I am not interested in arguing talking points or rehashing what a news commentator said. Interestingly, those who read, are also seemingly more capable of recognizing true fake news when they see it. By true fake news I mean news that is fictional, not FAKE news as used by a certain political figure to describe news they merely do not like, even though it may be true.
So, go and read, which is exactly what I am about to do.