To Read or Not To Read by Hal O’Leary

To Read or Not To Read by Hal O’Leary

To Read or Not To Read by Hal O’Leary. Read this opinion on the weekly section Just Hal on Yareah Magazine. Nice Saturday, friends.


To Read or Not To Read by Hal O’Leary

Allow me to begin with a disclaimer. The following is not meant to suggest that anyone should cease reading. I say at the outset that reading can be the most rewarding and profitable pursuits one can undertake in a search for understanding. It can be relaxing, enjoyable and most importantly it will be informative. It broadens one’s world view, and increases one’s vocabulary, which in turn enhances one’s precision in thinking. At hand with reading lies the collective wisdom of the ages translated into whatever language you choose. What could be more important for the survival of the human race than an understanding of its past which can only be discovered through the use of language.


In an effort to assuage the guilt and embarrassment of those, who like myself who find reading difficult, let me hasten to add that there may still be hope for a productive and rewarding life. I understand those who warn of dire consequences for a refusal to read as though that were all it was, a refusal. I contend, however, that there is something more at fault with those who do not read than just a dislike of reading. We are afflicted.

I don’t pretend to know the nature of the affliction, but I can give you the symptoms. There is an inability to remain focused on what you are trying to read. You find that you have to go back and reread a sentence sometimes more than once. You cannot read a sentence at a glance, as I’m given to understand good readers do. You must read one word at a time. Once you have finished, it becomes difficult to really assimilate or even remember what it is you have just read. Reading then becomes a chore rather than a pleasure. Please, this is not dyslexia, but it is just as debilitating if not more so. To my knowledge, it has yet to be identified much less classified. Perhaps we should call it “Hal’s Syndrome.”

Why do I write this? It is simply because I have the belief and fear that there must be many others out there with the same affliction. If so, they must be going or have gone through a life of debilitating self-doubt.

View Comments (1)
  • martincid

    As always, an absolutely great article, Mr. O’Leary. Congratulations!


Hal O’Leary is an eighty-seven-year-old Secular Humanist who believes that it is only through the arts that one is afforded an occasional glimpse into the otherwise incomprehensible. He has been awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from West Liberty University.

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