Neil Gaiman on Our Obligations to the Written Word
December 18, 2019
"We have an obligation to read for pleasure, in private and in public places."
From Neil Gaiman's wonderful lecture-turned-Guardian-op-ed:
I believe we have an obligation to read for pleasure, in private and in public places. If we read for pleasure, if others see us reading, then we learn, we exercise our imaginations. We show others that reading is a good thing.
We have an obligation to support libraries. To use libraries, to encourage others to use libraries, to protest the closure of libraries. If you do not value libraries then you do not value information or culture or wisdom. You are silencing the voices of the past and you are damaging the future.
We have an obligation to read aloud to our children. To read them things they enjoy. To read to them stories we are already tired of. To do the voices, to make it interesting, and not to stop reading to them just because they learn to read to themselves. Use reading-aloud time as bonding time, as time when no phones are being checked, when the distractions of the world are put aside.
Also see Gaiman's advice to aspiring writers, Rebecca Solnit on the shared intimacy of reading and writing, and Maurice Sendak's little-known [vintage posters celebrating books and the joy of reading].