It often happens that I have discussions about books and writers with friends and family. I have had two such conversations recently. One has to do with the idea that a reader can learn much about other areas and cultures by reading, even if they are unable to travel. Neither Emily Dickinson nor Jane Austen traveled much in their lifetimes, and yet many readers have appreciated their work for years.

If one has the ability to read, it can open up the world in ways that most other activities cannot. The more you read, the more free you become, and the more you learn about yourself and others. Malcolm X was semi-literate, so he started copying out the dictionary when he was in prison. Once he started learning words, he was able to read and understand books. He read all the time, and even said that up until that time of his life he had never been so free.

Books are powerful. Words are powerful. The more we read, the more we can understand and grow. And, really, it’s fun!