Why On Earth Would You Read This Book?
In the household I grew up in, we didn’t travel. There were no vacations, trips to museums, zoos, or the homes of friends. There was not a network of family friends or close acquaintances who looked out for you. No relationships with relatives at all, really, and we didn’t ever bring anyone home because we never knew what awaited us at the end of the day. We got three TV channels and spent a lot of time outside the house. I fished a lot.
When I was about 12 or so, my big sister had the opportunity through a distant relative to spend her summer in Ware, Massachusetts taking care of an elderly great uncle. I went along to keep her company. To me, it was a wondrous and exciting turn of events…I had never been away from home. The house was old fashioned, a farm-style cape that was situated in town. It had a warm and friendly country kitchen, three small bedrooms upstairs, one with a real feather mattress and – miracle of miracles – a piano! There was a friendly neighbor lady who invited me into her home to see all the small figurines she made out of clay, and set me off on a lifelong love of doing creative things. My sister Iris and I spend the summer just hanging out; she took care of both me and Uncle Phil and I remember listening to Simon and Garfunkel records on her snazzy portable AM/FM radio/record player.
But it wasn’t the house or the neighbors or the trip that sticks in my mind to this day. When I think of that summer, I think of the Reader’s Digest books that lined the shelves of the den in that little house.
I was a voracious reader even as a young person. Reading offered escape and the opportunity to dream without any restrictions. I had never heard of the Reader’s Digest before, and it revealed itself as the mother lode! I read them all summer. I started reading them in order, then began picking them at random. I loved the comics, the little quotes and the fact that the table of contents was right on the outside amazed and delighted me. ( For some reason I especially liked the Humor in Uniform…I guess I considered them the most “adult” jokes!) There were the subscription editions and a whole bunch of the condensed books. I read as many as I could manage, many more than once. I learned a great deal about the world around me that summer.
Those stories in the Reader’s Digest gave me a peek at life outside my own little world. They revealed experiences and opinions from renowned people: politicians, tv and movie personalities, and other simple and moving stories about real people who had overcome adversity of many kinds.
I was so delighted to see this Reader’s Digest Treasury of Joy & Inspiration! Not only is it a volume of time-tested stories, but a reminder that the big picture is still the same. Technology free life lessons showing us that people are still good, and thoughtful, and those around us can give us hope, inspiration and guidance in a quiet, steady way.
Even if you’re not a reader, I’m giving this an unabashed pitch – I urge you to get this book and give it a go. Read it and pass it on. Give it as a gift, recommend it, share it at your book club. You don’t need to read it all at once…it isn’t the type of book that ever goes out of style! Referring to the historic work by the editors of Reader’s Digest since 1922, current Editor-In-Chief Liz Vaccariello says they had – and still have – “…the ability to select those stories that are so moving, so evocative, so honest, and so bold that they change your perspective on life.” Just like it changed mine.