Go Read a Book.

No really, go read a book.

I’m going to start this post by saying that I HATE e-readers…or more specifically my mom’s e-reader. It’s a Kindle Fire, but what kind it is doesn’t really matter. It’s the fact that she has one. My mom used to read books all the time. I think every stock person at Amazon must have had her name memorized from needing to retrieve books to be shipped constantly. Each year she would “cull” her book collection and drop off at least two full paper boxes (the kind used to ship reams of paper) to the local library. This was of coarse after I was able to have my pick of which books I wanted. I have piles of books I have taken and haven’t had the opportunity to read, yet.

Then why do I hate this e-reader of my mom’s so much…because for someone like my mom an e-reader would be fabulous. Well, it is, for her. Not for me. Just think of all the books I’m NOT getting now. We go visit and she’ll tell me about some book she’s started…at least two new ones each week, they all sound super interesting and out of habit I say “Oh! You’ll have to let me borrow it after you are done.” Uh…I can’t it’s on my e-reader.

E-reader, you thwart me!

But, that’s just my personal reduction of on hand free reading material. The library is always free and thanks to the wondrous internet I can select books and have them hold them for me. Fantastic!

Obviously I like reading. I always have it was a way to keep my hyperactive imagination in check so I wasn’t making up demons trying to eat me. Look, I was so freaked out from the raptors in Jurassic Park that my mind convinced me that they were not only real but in my house waiting at the bottom of the stairs to eat jump out, tear me to shreds and then eat me. The movie came out when I was 12, well old enough to know that raptors were NOT in my house waiting at the bottom of the stairs to eat me.

I think I read more than the average kid but everybody I knew growing up read books, and not just for the book report you had to do. No, everyone read for enjoyment. Some more than others but at some point growing up you would either see a person reading or they might mention that they read some book. In high school people were still reading, this was before the advent of every kid having a smart phone…or for that mater a cell phone. It wasn’t uncommon for students to have a random “book for enjoyment” pilled on top of school books.

Then I went to college, where occasionally someone would have a book for enjoyment with them. When said book was spotted by others there was often the lament of “I wish I had more time to read.” In college all you’re doing is reading books the statement there is more of a “I wish I had more time to read books that I want to read for the fun of it.” I’m not going to lie my reading for fun really dropped in my college years, not because I didn’t want to or didn’t have the time it was more of the “I just spent five hours reading Marking, PR, and Management books, I can’t look at another written word!” (and word to the wise NEVER take three like classes in the same semester! I will forever remember that as the most annoying semester of college life because each class teaches the same material with a particular twist, test days were always fun.

This past weekend I went back to my old college to help as an alumni, and when I was there I started to wonder…does anyone bother to read…anything any more? Is the younger population so wrapped up in…well whatever the hell they are doing that they can’t stop and open a book, or hell, pull out their e-reader (because I’m sure most college kids now days have something of the like) and read something. Maybe expand their mind a little bit?

I went to a very technical-esq university. The technical aspect of the school is one of it’s greatest strengths and weaknesses. Going to the university I went to it was known that you would graduate knowing how to do whatever you went for top notch. Students at the school were sought out in their respective career fields from all over.  When I started there, and for years prior their student population had a 97% placement rate in the workforce. Many degrees boosting that their graduating class was hired before they graduated. That was true. There were students who were hired in January and graduating in May. Companies were willing to wait for students. But then the job market fell out and the placement rate plummeted, and extra sadly the market tanked, and only got worse the first year I was in college. So a person graduated with having great technical skills, but with all this emphasis in technical skills the “well rounded-ness” or broad knowledge of other subjects can get lost. I can’t say that one or the other is better.

When I was back at my old university there involved some reading to be done by the current students. I was amazed and appalled by the amount of reading mistakes that were made and by the lack of understanding of the material. We’re not talking about anything too hard, just basic stuff that would have been learned by picking up a book in high school, and reading it. I don’t blame the university because words, and being able to read words should be covered before ending up in a college setting. I left feeling sad for these students because they obviously lost something in their education prior to making it to college and being a technical based school it was highly unlikely that they would be in a class forcing them to read a good amount of literature.

I actually asked when I was leaving what the lack of reading was all about…which I was then informed by factually members that’s how just about every student comes into college now-a-days…with basically a lack of any worldly knowledge and understanding for compression reading.

But, I think there is hope, and it’s at the library in the form of a book (or an e-reader). So, go read a book, read it in public, read to kids and be that lame-o relative that gives out books for Christmas. Maybe even plan a family trip to a Shakespeare play. As a parent building a love of reading doesn’t stop after the end of  “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.” It includes reading yourself, so you’re children see you reading…and reading for enjoyment. Literature is amazing.

Here are some books I think everyone should read:

Homer’s the Odyssey and Lliad – because they are the oldest known written works and end up in various portions of other stories as allusions and referenced in pop culture.

Shakespeare – anything. Shakespeare turns up in culture and other forms of work. I’ve never read nor seen  Henry IV and there have been many times where I’ve missed key points/plot lines because of this. Just think of how much some other people are missing because they’ve never read any Shakespeare.

Charles DickensA Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations. In truth I am not a fan of either of these books. They were a forced read and I’m glad I had to read them, because these books are a part of our culture.

And an abundance of fiction anything. Some of my all time favorites are Alice in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass by Louis Carol,  The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, The Lord of the Rings  and The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Song of Fire and Ice (Game of Thrones) by George R.R. Martin, The Dr. Doolittle books by Hugh Lofting.

So, what are some of your must read books for fun, for life.


4 thoughts on “Go Read a Book.

  1. Theresa, I have been reading every night before I go to sleep for almost 2 years now. I have read every book that I have twice and more. I can’t imagine not holding a book and turning pages. I don’t think I would like a Nook or any e-reader.

    • I know! But I think I would like the portability of so many books at my finger tips and everyone I know that has one LOVES it.

  2. I love my nook, and the wife and I share an account so we can both enjoy the books we buy. I like that I can have a dozen books just waiting to be read that I can carry onto a plane, or read in a waiting room. As for Kindle, just grab the free e-reader for your ipad or computer and your mom can loan you the books she tells you about (http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200549320) – I borrow books from my in-laws when they tell me about a great read from their Kindles.

    • The problem is I don’t own a tablet, and we’re down to just my desktop now. I can’t justify getting an e-reader or tablet when we’re in the middle of two major room remodels and need at least two huge oaks taken out. Yay for home ownership!
      I’m sure when I do get one I’ll love it.

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