Readers write: Shared reading memories, appreciation of new Daily format

Letters to the editor for the Oct. 23, 2017 weekly magazine.

Peter Nicholls/Reuters
Old books intended for use by staff members in the bank's early years are seen inside Coutts private bank in London on Oct. 10, 2017.

Shared reading memories

I was enchanted by Robert Klose’s Sept. 4 Home Forum essay, “How I became a reader of books.” It brought back memories of my more than threescore years of reading, even as a small child. Having experienced the pleasure of book ownership at a much younger age than Mr. Klose, my introduction to reading was on a far less sophisticated plane than “The Cask of Amontillado.” My first love was Robert Louis Stevenson’s “A Child’s Garden of Verses,” followed by the Beatrix Potter animal stories, Nancy Drew mysteries, and eventually the English classics of Walter Scott, Charles Dickens, William Thackeray, and the Brontë sisters.

I, too, recall the flashlight-under-the-covers routine after lights out. I, too, remember intuiting the difference between a primer and a story. Perhaps my becoming a reader was more of a planned affair than Mr. Klose’s, if only because my father saw to it, feeding me a steady diet of poetry and prose throughout my childhood. As an adult, my reading tastes have run more to history and biography. But there have been a few novels that have captivated me from the opening lines, none more so than Alan Paton’s transcendent story “Cry, the Beloved Country,” whose first two sentences of shimmering prose I memorized long ago. You and I, Mr. Klose, we were two lucky kids!

Anne Carr Bingham

Salem, Conn.

Appreciation of new Daily format

You’ve convinced me! It’s taken a while, but I am now appreciating your daily five-story format. Initially I resisted the idea of you being the one to choose which articles to highlight. But I’m now a convert and concur with your choices 99 percent of the time. And your ongoing People Making a Difference series is heartwarming. In fact, my husband and I have just registered to help out next April with Grenada’s National Learn to Swim Week program, which was profiled in your Aug. 21 & 28 issue of the Weekly. The Monitor is a big influence in our lives. Many thanks for keeping it up to date, relevant, and purposeful.

Elaine Zavodni-Sjoquist

Portland, Maine

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

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