on reading

It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.
― Oscar Wilde

One of the advantages of being a frequent flyer is that it gives you precious time to concentrate on reading. And yes, I like to ignore the fact that many flights now offer the ‘benefit’ of in flight wifi. I prefer (vastly) the benefit of in flight disconnection from the world of work. It is (or was) one of the last few bastions of serenity and a place to hide from all those ‘whatsapp’ groups people seem to think aid communication at work. Don’t even get me started on that last one, it could become a post in itself and lead to unintended consequences.

Reading is one of the most precious gifts that we can give our children.

I remember when I was around about six years old that one of my favourite places of refuge was the ‘box room’ in my grandmother’s house in Rawtenstall. Actually, I think the box room had in fact been a place that my father was stored in as opposed to boxes but, no matter, it was a special place for me. It contained what at that age I felt to be an impressive library of books that opened up a whole world outside the (then) grim confines of Rawtenstall. The town’s buildings in those days were blackened with soot and the river that flowed behind my school stank of goodness knows what, concerns about pollution seemed a world away, and in many ways they were. The town at that stage was suffering from post industrial decline and its place in the world – defined by the dark satanic mills that once produced shoes and cotton for the Empire – was doubtful. And that is why those books were so important to me.

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