Louis L’Amour on the reading of fiction and history

“ It has often been said that we have but one life to live; that is nonsense.  If one reads fiction he or she can live a thousand lives, in many parts of the world or in outer space.  One can cross a desert, climb the Himalayas, or experience the agony of defeat, the triumph of  victory, the pangs of starvation, or the choking thirst of the desert, all while safely at home…Seated in my library I live in a Time Machine.  In an instant I can be transmitted to any era of history, any part of the world, even to outer space.  Often I am asked in what period of history I would have preferred to live, and I wonder that they do not see, for I have lived in them all.  I have listened to Buddha speak, I have marched with Alexander, sailed with the  Vikings, or in their double canoes with the Polynesians.  I have been at the courts of Queen Elizabeth and Louis the XIV;  I have explored the West with Jedediah Smith and Jim Bridger;  I have been a friend to Captain Nemo and have sailed with Captain Bligh on the Bounty.  I have walked in the agora with Socrates and Plato, and listened to Jesus deliver the Sermon on the Mount.  Above all, and the most remarkable thing, I can do it all again, at any moment of history, for at no other time have books been so readily available, in the book stores, in the public libraries, and in the home.”  ~ Louis L’Amour, The Sackett Companion.

further reading : Neil Gaiman: Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming

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