I think imagination is at the heart of everything we do. Scientific discoveries couldn’t have happened without imagination. Art, music, and literature couldn’t exist without imagination. And so anything that strengthens imagination, and reading certainly does that, can help us for the rest of our lives.
Old George Orwell got it backward. Big Brother isn’t watching. He’s singing and dancing. He’s pulling rabbits out of a hat. Big Brother’s busy holding your attention every moment you’re awake. He’s making sure you’re always distracted. He’s making sure you’re fully absorbed. He’s making sure your imagination withers. Until it’s as useful as your appendix. He’s making sure your attention is always filled. And this being fed, it’s worse than being watched. With the world always filling you, no one has to worry about what’s in your mind. With everyone’s imagination atrophied, no one will ever be a threat to the world.
Jeffrey Eugenides, The Marriage Plot
Short Story Number One Thousand Two Hundred and Eighty
She was pretty happy when there was no one to speak to and there was nothing to do. She liked to stay in her room and read and think about what everything would be like in a hundred years time. She wondered if all the pages in her books would survive that long.
A Schoolgirl (1887). Sir Luke Fildes, R.A. (English, 1843-1927). Oil on canvas. Royal Academy of Arts.
Shout for libraries. Shout for the young readers who use them.
Notice that Autumn is more the season of the soul than of Nature.
The Reader. Carl Holsoe (Danish, 1863-1935).
Holsoe excels in depicting domestic scenes in which sobriety, calm and soft light prevail. One feels as if time has stood still and all noise has ceased so that a floorboard creaking or a pin dropping can be heard. Scandinavian artists have succeded in painting silence of such a serene, entrancing quality.