By Carla Ceballos
Have you ever stopped to wonder How and Why We Read? I have, and it turns out I am not the only one. Author and video blogger John Green (check out his books at the library!) has a delightful YouTube video that discusses this very question, too (Follow the previous link to hear his enthusiasm on the subject! I am so affected by John Green and his writing and blogging I acknowledge him as the inspiration for most of this post–so it is not plagiarism Thank you, John Green!) If I had not fallen in love with math when I did, I probably would have chosen English as my major. I love books and reading.
Reading and writing are considered markers of civilization but they also connect people. It makes no sense to write unless you are going to have a reader. We read a story and–as author C.S Lewis said–we cry “You too? I thought I was the only one!” Human and cultural connection is important in a state like Wyoming; not only is our half-million population spread thin across this great land, but here in Rock Springs we find it hard to make connections as we hustle and bustle with the next boom and bust as we live our lives. Thank goodness for reading!
Writing also lets us communicate across barriers– barriers of distance, culture and time. It does not matter what the medium is for that writing. The cuneiform writing on baked clay from Mesopotamia is just as valid as the Gutenberg Bible which as as much merit as the novel on your eReader. I do not worry that eReaders and the internet will put libraries out of business or eviscerate language; we humans need to communicate and we will always find a way to tell our side of the story, whether that is by keyboard or ink or scratchings in stone.
Even fiction stories are a method of communication. When we read a story critically (as John Green points out) we
- have a fuller understanding of lives other than our own
- learn to empathize
- can gain the linguistic tools to share our own story with more precision. It takes a good reader to make a good writer, after all.
As I said before, this connection is important for us to maintain in this wild west state. I love Wyoming, and I encourage everyone to learn more about this beautiful state and its fascinating people. My resolution for 2013 is to read more of the books from the Wyoming History Section, the crown jewel of our little library. This is a wild, beautiful and not easy land to live in, so maybe I can find a connection with those who have been here before?