Reading is one of the simplest ways to discover or empathise with another person; a way of being alone with them when they are alone.
It is also a way of taking time off from your own preoccupations, and entering another mind, another world. Once you have experienced this, it is almost like making a friend, someone who you will never forget.
Joan Aiken wrote about this discovery as she made it for herself as a child:
And the same goes for grown-ups too! As she wrote in a piece for International Children’s Book Day fifty years ago: “If every single person in the world had a book – just one book – and they’d have to be able to read it of course – we’d have a lot less trouble.”
PS. Rather nice to know that for Joan it was a comfort to know that Wednesday followed Thursday…only in her world!