“A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it’s to keep its edge.” –George R.R. Martin, in A Game of Thrones
It’s been a while since I’ve read A Game of Thrones (though I plan to revist the books again sometime in the near future), but this quote has always been one of my absolute favorite book quotes out there. I stumbled across it again recently, and decided to post and share and spark a discussion on the importance of books. Now, with most of my readership, I doubt I’d have to say much to convince them of the importance of books, but I know a few people who don’t like reading or, even more surprising to me, authors who don’t like reading much, either. So I supply to my readers, especially those who have yet to tap into the magic of literature, these words from Tyrion Lannister on why reading is so damn awesome.
Not only does reading open us up to new world and characters and situations, it sharpens our wits and our minds in a way that very little else beyond experiencing it firsthand can do. I may be more worldly than some, but I would not classify myself as worldly, not by a long-shot, though I have a deep understanding of things beyond my experiences through books. I can get all sorts of references, as well as make my own, relating things I’ve read to things that happen or will happen or have happened. I become a stronger writer by experiencing other forms of writing, getting ideas and taking notes when another author does soemthing I like…or something I hate. With reading, you’re constantly learning something new, even if you’re reading a book you’ve read dozens of times already.
And the most wonderful thing? It’s practically an unlimited resource. If I spent every waking hour of my life reading, I still would never get through the incredible wealth of material that’s out there. There are always more books, more worlds to explore, boundaries to push, and knowledge to be gained. Bring it on, I say. I intend to keep this edge good and sharp.
I completely agree with you here – reading is so important. My brother’s dyslexic and couldn’t read for himself till he was 12. But he reads all the time now and has read ‘The Lord of the Rings’ at least once, which is more than I have – I got bogged down part way through the first book and couldn’t get on with it!
And you’re right that reading is important to our writing as well. It’s almost like a form of osmosis – the more we read the more we’re going to pick up on what works well in a novel and what doesn’t. 🙂
Yeah, LotR is not easy; I’ve always been a much bigger fan of The Hobbit, so kudos to your brother.
Just like any trade or skill, it’s important to keep up on the craft of writing. Lucky for us, keeping up on the craft is so damn enjoyable, too!
Exactly! Have a lovely weekend. 🙂
Brava! Well-spoken. I, too, intend to keep a sharp edge! =D
Much rather be sharp than too dull! 🙂