John Butch Preston
he best thing you can do with your leisure time during this awful period is to read some good books. Unlike other aspects of life, reading a book is something you’ll never regret doing. Getting absorbed in a good novel will take your mind away from the awful news we are hearing everyday. It will also reward you intellectually and spiritually, and may even help alleviate feelings of loneliness. How can you read Carson McCullers’ To Kill a Mockingbird and not come away emotionally changed in some way?
If you don’t know what to read, then go to a website that lists the hundred greatest books ever written and choose one or two that seem interesting to you. Or you may want to go back and read Hawthorn’s The Scarlet Letter—which you were assigned to read in high school or college and never did, and finally relieve yourself of that guilt. But if you already have books in your household then consider rereading them. The test of a really good book is if you can reread it and find enjoyment in it again, and perhaps a new meaning that you missed the first time.
I often reread books. Currently I am rereading Horseman on the Roof by the great Italian writer Jean Giono, a novel about a horseman involved in a cholera epidemic in France during the 1830s, and how stupidly and crudely it was dealt with, because of their ignorance of what caused it. I’m also rereading Mexican neuroscientist Roger Bartra’s Anthropology of the Brain. So far, they haven’t discovered how the human brain produces consciousness, but they have determined that the mind does allow for a modest amount of freewill, which tells us that not everything is fated to be, as most of us think it is.
So pick up a good book now. Great Minds are the true treasures of the world, and you can only find them by reading.