You are what you eat. Or so we are told.
Today, I want to suggest that we are what we read.
In a former life when I taught English to feral boys, I told them that to eat a variety of nutritious foods was good for their health and to read a range of well-written books was good for their minds. Eat junk – get spotty. Read junk – get …flabby, mentally flabby.
My own reading this summer has not got off to a good start. Like a good and thrifty housewife I determined to read some of the books that I’ve bought at some point but not yet read before going out to buy anything new. Alexander McCall Smith’s ’44 Scotland Street’, the first in the series, and Lyndsey Davis’ ‘The Silver Pigs’ about a Roman detective called Falco, accompanied me on a week away near Chichester. I didn’t spend very much time reading the Bible as often happens when away on family holidays and with little else available to read, I chewed my way through these two books like a grumpy child who quickly realises he is not enjoying his meal but knows he must eat up or there’ll be no pudding.
My husband, on the other hand, nearing the end of a second reading of ‘Middlemarch’, has been deeply moved, wholly absorbed and stimulated to lots of Christian thought, self-reflection and engaging conversation. I need to choose with a bit more care what I read for the remainder of the holiday. Eating up what’s in the cupboards may be economical financially, but if it’s not good for you, throw it away.