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Confessions of a Lover of Books and Learning

Many of us love to read. Some of us who love to read the most are introverts, so I went to the source to find out what it's all about.

Here are two things that seem to be true of people who have developed a love of reading:

They were taught to read before they went to school, often by a parent 'Most couldn't even count the number of books they've read in a lifetime. One reader wrote, 'Almost as many drinks of water as I've taken. Can't begin to guess.' Hundreds and thousands seem to be the norm.

When a parent or loved one teaches you to read, it's associated with a loving atmosphere.

Many people who love to read tell me that being read to was a regular part of their life as a child.

My father read to me and my sister every night, without fail. The books he chose even my mother had to object to at times '- Black Arrow,' and 'The Three Musketeers,' for instance, but it really didn't matter to me. I loved hearing my father's voice, and I picked up his obvious love of literature. He approached each reading session with enthusiasm, more in the nonverbals than in anything he said, but certainly I could tell it was something he really looked forward to.

He would pick up the clearly-beloved book, and settle back in the chair, sigh and assume a posture of 'ahhh, at last. What a wonderful way to transmit a love of learning.

When I was ready to go to college, and was kind of dubious, he told me I'd like it a lot more than high school. He said 'The kids are nicer, and the level of learning is much more enjoyable. You won't have to memorize much.'

Those pat phrases '- reading broadens you' and 'learning enriches your life,' were lived in my household. Yes, my father worked. Yes, he did things around the house. Yes, when he settled in to read us a book at night it seemed the part of the day he most looked forward to.

Lifelong learning appears to be one of the qualities that builds our Resilience. Research by Al Siebert, Ph.D., has found that people who live longer, healthier, happier lives have incorporated learning in every stage of their life instead of abandoning 'learning' after college.

One reason I love reading is that it's always available. When you're stuck in a traffic jam, or waiting for a late-running soccer practice to end, or getting a prescription filled at the pharmacy, or stuck at work with nothing to do, you can always get on the internet and read, or pull out a book.

Reading and learning are available under most conditions. There were years (before the Internet) when I couldn't afford books and I would go to the public library. There were also used book fairs, and now there are used book stores.

There's also the used book option at, as well as the plethora of free learning material on the Internet. You don't have to spend a cent, and you don't have to leave your house.

Some questions for you about books:

1.Do books uplift the spirit and allow a pleasant distraction?

When I am attacked by gloomy thoughts, nothing helps me so much as running to my books. They quickly absorb me and banish the clouds from my mind.' ~Michel de Montaigne

2.No matter what your stage or age, is there a book out there for you?

Books 'are like lobster shells. We surround ourselves with 'em, then we grow out of 'em and leave 'em behind, as evidence of our earlier stages of development.' ~Dorothy L. Sayers

3. Are books wonderfully user-friendly?

Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers. ~ Charles W. Eliot

4. If you're living without books, are you missing out on something?

I cannot live without books.' ~ Thomas Jefferson

5.Do you value books more than other material possessions?

Knowing I lov - d my books, he furnish - d me
From mine own library with volumes that
I prize above my dukedome.' ~Shakespeare

6.Does reading books bring refinement?

You despise books; you whose loves are absorbed in the vanities of ambition, the pursuit of pleasure or indolence; but remember that all the known world, excepting only savage nations, is governed by books. ~ Voltaire

7.Are those who don't study history forced to repeat it?

Without words, without writing and without books there would be no history, there could be no concept of humanity. ~Herman Hesse

8.Do books expose you to good people you might not otherwise meet?

The reading of all good books is indeed like a conversation with the noblest of men of past centuries who were the authors of them, nay a carefully studied conversation, in which they reveal to us none but the best of their thoughts.' ~ Rene Descartes

9.Are books a part of the Information Age?

The rules have changed. True power is held by the person who possesses the largest bookshelf, not gun cabinet or wallet.' ~Anthony J. D - Angelo

10.Do books broaden your horizons?

It is books that are a key to the wide world; if you can't do anything else, read all that you can.' ~Jane Hamilton

Here's to the joys of reading, to hyacinths for the soul!

About the Author
Susan Dunn, MA Psychology, Emotional Intelligence Coach, I help people become better communicators and develop their emotional intelligence through coaching, Internet courses and ebooks. Susan is the author of "Nonverbal Communication."

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