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Reading is, in my opinion, a treat for the mind, because it brings pleasure while feeding the spirit and raising the consciousness. Reading offers us things to know, to imagine, and to think about. Each book we read enlarges our vision of the world, and makes the shadows tarnishing our lucidity and our knowledge fade away a little more.
Pleasure is being allowed to travel though time, through space. As an admirer of Victor Hugo, I had heard stories about his funeral, where every single Parisian went to honour him. And then, one day, I found this book about his funeral, about the attempts of the Church and of the Government to recover his body, about how the police had to be there to prevent the anarchists or the socialists to cause a riot, and lastly, about all the miserable people that venerated the poet and wanted to bid him a last farewell. While I am reading, I become one of them, I see myself as a Parisian from the suburbs that came to the good neighbourhoods just to kiss this great man’s casket.
Reading also offers precious moment of peace, moments to reflect upon the world and upon ourselves, probably because, more than any other cultural vector, reading allows you to follow your own rhythm. Some savour it, others eat it up. But also because thanks to the variety of stories, of tales and of knowledge, it forces us to put our own place in the world into perspective.
Finally, reading opens up a way toward the other. By inviting us to be a part of its universe, its sceneries, its sufferings or its love stories, by putting ourselves into its “shoes” a bit more with each page, by sharing its reflection, it leads us on the way to tolerance. And that is how, through an infinity of shared emotions, reading awakens our humanity.
Isabelle Thomas, Member of the European Parliament