Reader, oh reader, where art thou?

By Donald Brazile

There’s a saying among book-lovers that a person who will not read is no better than the person who cannot read. Whatever may be your final evaluation of this statement, there can be no doubt that many who are weak could be strong, many who are bored could find fulfilling activity, many who are depressed could find encouragement, and many who are grieving could find hope, if only they’d pick up a book and read. There are books we read, enjoy, and promptly forget. There are books we read and remember. And then there are the books that transform our lives. And every time a significant book is read and vitally influences the reader, the reader becomes something of a dynamic transformer. The charge, the current, is built up and released with new power for the future steps on the journey of life. Or, as the ancient book of Ecclesiastes wisely passes down to us, “The words of the wise prod us to live well.”

A child, an adult, or senior adult can find reading equally satisfying. It can be ended and started again at will. There are few pleasures that are financially less costly (resale shops/public libraries) than finding and collecting books. It can be engaged in privately or with friends (book clubs). And, once initiated, there are few things that bring a greater variety of pleasure, delight, and fullness to one’s life than simply finding a quiet place alone with a book. George Martin put it best when he said, “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, the man who never reads lives only once.”

Since this month’s theme is about collectibles, I want you to consider becoming a collector of words and books. Why? Because “words speak louder than actions.” Yes, you read that right! This phrase is as true as its first cousin: “Actions speak louder than words.” They are both equally true. Let me share an example. Last month I officiated a wedding in Texas, and in response to my reading of the marriage vows, the groom and bride individually and joyfully replied, “I do.” My reading of the vows and their spoken response became the very act whereby the marriage became binding. You see, the written and spoken word is the means by which much of the world’s work is done, its miracles performed. So, in all your collecting, ravenously collect rare, medium and well-done books!

To sum up, I‘d like to circle back to the title, “Reader, oh reader, where art thou?” What type of books do you collect? Have you read any good books lately? Take a moment and share with me your summer reading list and how it’s challenging, comforting, informing, or directing you. Send an email to [email protected], or if you’d rather, send a brief note to Don Brazile c/o 501 LIFE Magazine, 920 Locust Ave. Ste. 104, Conway, AR 72034. Let’s celebrate the collecting of books and authors and the written word. Happy collecting and reading!