I was recently re-reading Annie Dillard’s An American Childhood, some 15 years after initially reading it, and was appropriately awe-struck page after page. Dillard is one of the most brilliant writers of our time; I could re-read her books endlessly. Here she is on the topic of reading:
“What I sought in books was imagination. It was depth, depth of thought and feeling; some sort of extreme of subject matter; some nearness to death; some call to courage. I myself was getting wild; I wanted wildness, originality, genius, rapture, hope. I wanted strength, not tea parties. What I sought in books was a world whose surfaces, whose people and events and days lived, actually matched the exaltation of the interior life. There you could live.
Those of us who read carried around with us like martyrs a secret knowledge, a secret joy, and a secret hope: There is a life worth living where history is still taking place; there are ideas worth dying for, and circumstances where courage is still prized. This life could be found and joined, like the Resistance. I kept this exhilarating faith alive in myself, concealed under my uniform shirt like an oblate’s ribbon; I would not be parted from it.”
— Michael Taeckens, Online & Paperback Marketing Director