Read Dangerously 14 April, 2023 – Posted in: Articles, Books – Tags: Opinion, Read Dangerously
Reading is a safe and solitary activity. This could never be further from the truth. Reading is dangerous. Reading puts your mind in motion. It churns up feelings and ideas. Reading can make us want to explore the range of human experiences more fully. Reading can start revolutions.
When we read a book we engage with the author and their words. But you aren’t the only one to read them. Other people read the same book and if you enjoy (or don’t enjoy) the book it’s hard not to talk about it to someone; anyone. That’s the whole point of books, to get those words and ideas out to as many people as possible. A good book will reach millions of people, but even a less popular book can reach thousands of readers. Regardless of whether we agree with the author or not, each book adds to the sphere of human knowledge in some way.
These days some groups in the world seem to regard books as weapons. They are wrong in this assumption. Books are not weapons, books are ammunition; your mind is the weapon. Reading opens us up to new ideas and ways of thinking, to new cultures and ways of doing things, and to emotions and perceptions we might not be able to experience directly. This then may change our views of the world, our perceptions of what is good for ourselves and society, and – hopefully – increase our empathy towards and understanding of the people around us. Reading lets us approach the world with minds more readily open and willing to reevaluate our ideas and beliefs. It also allows us to more readily reject false and repugnant dogma and rhetoric.
Images and blurbs on a screen go by too quickly and are easily forgotten. Books and reading allow us to immerse ourselves into unfamiliar, and sometimes uncomfortable, worlds and situations. A book read might become a hazy recollection over time, but it becomes part of our psychological geology. Layer upon layer of knowledge and ideas that can lay dormant for years or decades but suddenly erupt into our minds at unexpected points in our lives. This is a powerful side-effect of reading.
While Ab Astra Books is primarily focused on speculative fiction and its related genres, we encourage all types of reading and readers. But whatever you read, read dangerously.