My Family (a long time ago)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Reading For the Fun of It

If given a choice, which would you rather do: sit down and read a good book or sit down and watch a TV show? I’m not going to say that the book is a national bestseller and the TV show is one of the worst there is, or that the TV show is the top rated show and the book was found in the take-me-I’m-free pile. Let’s just say that both the book and the TV show are excellent. Which would you rather do?

I go to the library every four weeks and check out a book or two, depending on how long they are. For the most part, I finish both of them before they are due back, though I have had to renew one of them a couple of times. I guess you could say I like to read. I read books, a magazine, other blogs and some online news. I love to find a book by someone I never heard of that sounds interesting and then find out I can barely put it down. It’s even better when I get another book by that author and find out they weren’t a one shot deal.

Part of the reason I’m bringing this up is because in a discussion at work a few people thought it was it was weird that I read books…from the library! I know that many people use electronic readers; my wife has a Kindle Fire and she absolutely loves it. She loves being able to have a virtual pile of books in one small place. I don’t know if I’d like it or not, I haven’t tried one yet. However, the point is that a few of the people thought it was strange that I read books for entertainment or fun, and not for a class I’m taking. It seems that a lot of people just don’t read books anymore, whether they are physical or virtual. To me, that is sad.

When I was a kid, I would go to the library with my Mom regularly. While she was browsing for books in the upstairs section for grownups, I was allowed to look for two books in the kids’ section. I don’t know if Mom made me do this, but I usually got one sports related book and one regular book. It was thrilling to me to pick out a couple of books and then take them home and read them. Books were an escape for me. When I read about a great football player like Jim Brown or a one-armed baseball player who made it to the major leagues, I was there on that field seeing it all happen. It also made me think that maybe someday I could be a professional athlete instead of just a regular guy. If not, then maybe I could write about sports, whether it was for a newspaper, magazine or books.

The non-sports books were also great for me. I read about the Civil War, cowboys, astronauts, inventors and people who overcame huge odds to do something important or great. Sometimes I thought that if those people could do something cool or great, then I could, too. It not only stirred my imagination, it helped it to grow. It got me thinking and wondering and exploring. For the most part, TV just doesn’t do that any more. Many of the shows are dumbed down or predictable, with no imagination necessary.

Reading has been a life long practice for me. I may need glasses to see the words these days, but I still like to read the printed word. Words, and your own imagination, can take you places a TV show can’t. I guess you know what I’d rather do.     

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