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The Act of Reading

When Tessa Hadley visited us, she to afterwards and said:

‘So great to remember that there are groups like your Book League out there, full of such authentic love for literature, so well-read and with such sophisticated understanding. Of course that’s who we writers are addressing, always. But so reassuring to meet that audience in person.’

It’s important we remember that the Suffolk Book League is more than an indulgence of our pleasure in reading. Of course, we hope that sharing the experience of writers, and offering some reflection on the pleasure of reading through our reviews and recommendations is rewarding. But our aims are bigger than that. We believe that the act of reading is one of the very greatest of humanity’s achievements. Learning to read is one of the best gifts we give to our children. The sharing of wisdom and imagination through the written word is one of the most reliable indices of what we mean by civilisation.

It’s ridiculous, isn’t it, that we should need to reach for such pompous declarations to state what should be obvious? Surely our world is full to bursting with written opinions? Surely, we have to hand more means of reading, by Kindle, by Ipad, by paperback, by magazine,every kind of literary matter?

We in the SBL warmly approve of literary festivals (especially the ones nearest to us), and the meetings of book groups among friends, as we do the work of university departments devoted to creative writing. Finding and treasuring good writing, saying why we like it, and opening the eyes of others to what they might easily have missed, requires mutual encouragement and exchange of views. So, pleasure is increased. So, the benefit which only books provide is spread. So, writers are encouraged. So, we find that reading is not just being diverted when we are tired. It is one of our most worthwhile activities while we are alive.

If you belong to a Book Group, have you remembered to recommend the SBL to them? If you have enjoyed a book,or made a new discovery in your reading, have you thought of submitting a brief description to BookTalk? We love to hear from you.


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