Monday, November 17, 2008

"When Books Could Change Your Life"

Why What We Pore Over At 12 May Be The Most Important Reading We Ever Do

This is the best article I've read in a long time. Not only does the title pull me in, but the little illustration seems to have been snatched from my thoughts! Reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland; too big to enter the tiny door.

Here's an excerpt:

"About the last time in our lives when books have this kind of potent effect on us is in our early 20s, which not coincidentally tends to be the age of people you see poring over Nietzsche or that awful Ayn Rand. There's something alarming about this. I don't want to believe that our personalities ossify so much in adulthood that we're no longer capable of being changed by art. But part of the reason art loses its power over us, of course, is, simply and sadly, that we get old; our personalities, as soft, impressionable, and tempting as freshly poured sidewalk cement when young, gradually set and harden over the years with whatever graffiti passers-by scrawled there still indelibly inscribed in it. But when a 14-year-old gushes that the Twilight series are the best books she's ever read in her whole life, it's easy for grownups to forget that this is not necessarily hyperbole. At that age, we haven't heard any clichés, and even dumb ideas are new."

I don't want to harden and become unchangeable after my early twenties! and why do I fit so perfectly into the description of the young twenty-something poring over Nietzsche and Rand? Does this mean I will also fit into the typical description of the 30-something, 40-something, and so on?

"I'm over 40 now, no longer by even the most charitable definition a young adult, and I'm starting to realize, in something like panic, that I don't understand anything, and that nobody else seems to know any more about it than I do. There aren't any grownups. And maybe there aren't any secrets left to tell."

(originally found on this blog)
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