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阅读的必要性  

2016-12-27 17:15:52|  分类: 文学教育 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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阅读的必要性

We all ask each other a lot of questions. But we should all ask one question a lot more often: “What are you reading?”

It's a simple question but a powerful one, and it can change lives.

Here's one example: I met, at a bookstore, a woman who told me that she had fallen sadly out of touch with her beloved grandson. She lived in Florida. He and his parents lived elsewhere. She would call him and ask him about school or about his day. He would respond in one-word answers: Fine. Nothing. Nope.

And then one day, she asked him what he was reading. He had just started “The Hunger Games,”

a series of dystopian young-adult novels by Suzanne Collins. The grandmother decided to read the first volume so that she could talk about it with her grandson the next time they chatted on the phone. She didn't know what to expect, but she found herself hooked from the first pages.

The book helped this grandmother cut through the superficialities of phone chat and engage her grandson on the most important questions that humans face about survival and destruction and loyalty and betrayal and good and evil, and about politics as well. Now her grandson couldn't wait to talk to her when she called—to tell her where he was, to find out where she was and to speculate about what would happen next.

Other than belonging to the same family, they had never had much in common. Now they did. The conduit was reading.

We need to read and to be readers now more than ever.

We overschedule our days and complain constantly about being too busy. We shop endlessly for stuff we don't need and then feel oppressed by the clutter that surrounds us. We rarely sleep well or enough. We compare our bodies to the artificial ones we see in magazines and our lives to the exaggerated ones we see on television. We watch cooking shows and then eat fast food. We worry ourselves sick and join gyms we don't visit. We keep up with hundreds of acquaintances but rarely see our best friends. We bombard ourselves with video clips and emails and instant messages. We even interrupt our interruptions.

And at the heart of it, for so many, is fear—fear that we are missing out on something. Wherever we are, someone somewhere is doing or seeing or eating or listening to something better.

Books are uniquely suited to helping us change our relationship to the rhythms and habits of daily life in this world of endless connectivity. We can't interrupt books; we can only interrupt ourselves while reading them. They are the expression of an individual or a group of individuals, not of a hive mind or collective consciousness. They speak to us, thoughtfully, one at a time. They demand our attention. And they demand that we briefly put aside our own beliefs and prejudices and listen to someone else's. You can rant against a book, scribble in the margin or even chuck it out the window. Still, you won't change the words on the page.

The technology of a book is genius: The order of the words is fixed, whether on the page or on the screen, but the speed at which you read them is entirely up to you. Sure, this allows you to skip ahead and jump around. But it also allows you to slow down, savor and ponder.

At the trial in which he would be sentenced to death, Socrates said that the unexamined life isn't worth living. Reading is the best way I know to learn how to examine your life. By comparing what you've done to what others have done, and your thoughts and theories and feelings to those of others,you learn about yourself and the world around you. Perhaps that is why reading is one of the few things you do alone that can make you feel less alone. It is a solitary activity that connects you to others.

我们都会问彼此很多问题。但我们都该远比现在更多地问这样一个问题:“你在读什么书?”

这是一个简单但有力的问题,它可以改变人生。

有这样一个例子:我在书店遇到一位女士,她告诉我,她曾不幸与心爱的孙子产生隔膜。她住在佛罗里达州。他和父母住在别的地方。她会给他打电话,问他学校里的事或日常情况。他会简短回答:很好,没什么,不是。

有一天,她问他在读什么书。他那时刚开始看《饥饿游戏》,这是苏珊·柯林斯写的一系列反乌托邦青少年小说。奶奶决定读读第一部,这样下次通电话时她可以跟孙子聊聊这本书。她不知道这本书讲的是什么,但刚读了几页就迷上了。

这本书让这位奶奶打破了电话聊天时的泛泛之谈,和孙子讨论起人所面对的有关生存与毁灭、忠诚与背叛以及善良与邪恶这些最重要的问题,此外还会谈到政治。如今,当她打电话时,孙子会迫不及待地和她通话——告诉她他读到了什么地方,询问她读到了哪里,并且猜测接下来的情节。

除了属于同一个家庭,他们过去没什么共同点。如今他们有了共同点。连接他们的方式是阅读。

如今我们比以往任何时候都更需要阅读,更需要成为读者。

我们每天都给自己安排了太多的事情,总在抱怨很忙。我们没完没了地买一堆不需要的东西,然后因周遭的杂乱而苦恼。我们很少能睡个好觉,总是睡眠不足。我们将自己的身材与在杂志上看到的人造身材相比较,将我们的生活与在电视上看到的浮夸生活相比较。我们看烹饪节目,然后吃快餐。我们害怕自己生病,成为健身房会员却不去健身。我们和成百上千的熟人保持联系,却很少与好朋友见面。我们用视频片段、电子邮件和即时通讯对自己狂轰滥炸。我们甚至在自己打岔的时候都要打岔。

而对于许多人而言,说到底是害怕——害怕我们正在错过什么。无论我们身在何方,总会有某地的某人在做着、看着、吃着或者听着更好的东西。

唯有书籍适合帮助我们在这个无止境连接的世界里改变与日常生活节奏及习惯的关联。我们不能打断书籍;我们只能在读书时打断自己。它们是一个人或一群人的表达,而非蜂群思维或集体意识的表达。它们带着真知灼见,与我们一一交谈。它们要求我们集中精力。它们还要求我们暂时将自己的想法与偏见放在一边而听听别人怎么说。你可以对着书痛骂,在空白处乱写乱画,甚至可以将它扔到窗外。不过,你无法改变书上的内容。

书籍工艺妙不可言:无论是在书页还是屏幕上,字词的顺序是固定的,但是阅读它们的速度完全取决于你。当然,这让你可以跳着往前读,还可以翻过来调过去地读。不过这也让你可以慢下来,去品味,去思考。

苏格拉底在他将被处以死刑的审判中说,未经审视的人生不值得一过。阅读是我所知道的学会审视人生的最好办法。通过对比你与别人的所作所为,对比你与别人的观点、看法和感受,你会了解自己和身边的世界。或许正因为如此,阅读是为数不多你独自做的能让你感到不那么孤独的事情之一。它是将你与他人连接的一种独处。(李凤芹译自美国《华尔街日报》11月25日文章)

阅读的必要性 - 雨和风 - 雨和风

 

 

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