Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Magic Garden

"A book is like a magic garden carried in your pocket." This old Chinese proverb pops up from time to time, most recently last fall in a Public Television episode of Sherlock Holmes. Whether it actually is a Chinese proverb I cannot answer from the resources at hand. Surely you know "I heard it on TV" or "I found it on the Internet" are no guarantees of absolute truth.

Old proverb or not, I love the image of a book as a magic garden. That bit of enchantment when you are lost in a good book is hard to duplicate with other media. I spent part of the vacation rereading a favorite book: Jane Austen's Persuasion, the last of her novels. Then I watched the film version. Need I say which was more engaging, compelling and wholly captivating?

The wonderful thing about reading is that the reader partners with the author to create the scene of the book. The reader's imagination is an integral part of the process. You're only a couch potato if you're looking at a screen. If you and your children are reading for pleasure or information, you brains are firing on all cylinders. What better resolution for 2011 than to read more? What better family activity than reading every day to enjoy each other's company and expand everyone's horizons?