Why the Urge to Read?

Marilyn Monroe and Ulysses

During the 1950s, the pioneering photojournalist Eve Arnold took a series of portraits of Marilyn Monroe. The now iconic photos generally present Monroe as a larger-than-life celebrity and sex symbol. Except for one. In 1955, Arnold photographed Monroe reading a worn copy of James Joyce’s modernist classic, Ulysses. It’s still debated whether this was simply an attempt to recast her image (she often played the “dumb blonde” character in her ’50s films), or whether she actually had a pensive side. (Her personal library, catalogued at the time of her death, suggests the latter.)

To learn, of course. Knowledge and ideas have been preserved and shared for centuries from books. Books also gives an escape to life, to explore and discover new worlds, and old lives outside of our own.

Life is sometimes hard to navigate and the never ceasing strain in an attempt to, leaves one exhausted with reality. Just as our minds crave stimulation and  a sense of accomplishment, they also need an escape.

If you want to learn about a person, look to their hobbies. If you want to learn about the individuality of a person, look at their bookcase.

Reading is far more than a function between the eyes and brain.


7 thoughts on “Why the Urge to Read?

  1. Funny you picked this picture of Marilyn. I have a kind of obsession for women who had everything to be happy but whose life was so miserable and died tragically.
    Having said that, I could not agree more: books do not lie. Look at the bookcase of a person and you’ll know who you are dealing with.
    Unfortunately, lately I keep meeting people who claim that they do not like to read. So sad 😦

  2. Francesca, interesting. Thanks for sharing that. I think we all have a fascination with lives different than our own. For example, I used to be extremely interested in Bill Clinton. Not necessarily his politics, but his personality, ambition, ability, and ruthlessness.

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