... by Bonnie Calhoun about what I said to the seniors I gave a talk to yesterday, I suppose it won't hurt to provide a synopsis. So here goes:
We hear all the time about how important it is for young people to develop the habit of reading. But it's just as important to remind grown-ups to maintain the habit. For one thing, our readings skills, I think, get better as we grow older, because we only get out of a book as much as we bring to it. So the more experience we have under our belt the better able are we to connect to the text. I recalled how, when I was maybe 17, John P. Marquand's last novel, Women and Thomas Harrow, arrived at our house by way of the Literary Guild. I tried reading it and couldn't get into it. But decades later I saw the book in a hotel room and decided to check it out. It was terrific. And I knew rioght away why it hadn't grabbed me years before: because I was simply too young and inexperienced. I hadn't held down a real job, paid a mortgage, been married, tried to support a family, etc., etc.
I also talked a bit yesterday about War and Peace and, in connection with my theme, quoted this from it: "... to love life is to love God. The hardest and most blessed thing is to love this life in one's suffereings ..." I pointed out that to read that when you're 20 is one thing. To read it when you're past 60 is quite another.