Sunday, March 21, 2010

Rediscovering Reading

I'll admit, I've slipped off a bit since I was a child.  I used to read quite a bit more than I do now.  When I was in elementary and middle school, I read at least a few  books a week on a variety of subjects.  Admittedly I didn't care much for a lot of the books I was required to read.  I wasn't crazy about Shakespeare (bored to tears actually), didn't care much for James Joyce (I can think of quite a few more drunk Irishmen I'd rather hang out with), and wish that Herman Melville had washed out to sea like Moby Dick and Billy Budd.  One book did stand out, and that was the Scarlet Letter by Nathanial Hawthorne.  It's been years, but I think this one was required reading in 10th grade.  I was captivated and amazed by this book and it's a book I still read on occasion.

Once I got to college, I had more required reading by authors I couldn't possibly care less about reading.  I got into more adult novels and picked up a few more books I read on occasion.  I've probably read the Godfather no less than 10 times in my adult life, the Scarlet Letter at least 10 times, and Ball Four by Jim Bouton at least 15 times in my life.  I began reading books on music and was shocked at the lives of some of my musical heroes (Hammer of the Gods-the story of Led Zeppelin)  Reading used to be my true passion, but as girls, sports, video games, music, movies, and television became more prevalent, books moved to the backburner.  I'm proud to say that books are making a huge comeback in my life.  I've always been more of a non fiction fan as opposed to fiction.  I do better when things are based in reality than in a world all their own.

Last year, after seeing Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, I became a huge fan.  I immediately began reading all the books and thanks to Mr. Potter,  I fell in love with reading again.  I read all of Dan Brown's books again as well as the Godfather another time.  I've also (thanks to my lovely wife) rediscovered my love of the Library.  When I was kid, much like clockwork, my mom took me faithfully to the library at least once a week.  I'd storm through books with the speed of Hermes.  Once I got to high school, the trips to the library slowed and eventually stopped.  With the amount of garbage (my opinion only) that I was required to read in high school, there was little to no time for pleasure reading.  My trips to the library were largely for research for school and that continued onto to college.  My guilty pleasure in college was the book "Crime and Punishment" by Dostoevsky.  It's the one book that I place in as high a regard as "The Scarlet Letter".   Ashley has suggested for a large portion of the last two years that I get a library card, but up until last weekend I refused.  The Library had become a place to do nothing more than research, they were outdated,  and there was absolutely no way they'd have the books I wanted to read.   Boy was I wrong.

I have rediscovered my love of the library.  Libraries, much like every other industry, have been forced to change and adapt to the whims of the world. The library is a friendly place to go again.  The staff is helpful and wonderful.  I can reserve books online and pick them up at the library that's right next to the house.  They have all the latest releases and can even get copies of books I want from other collections.  The last two Saturdays have been spent in the library, just reading, much in the same way I did when I was just a kid.  I've already read a book about Kurt Cobain (one of my favorite musicians), a book about cheating in sports, and a book on Greek Mythology.  I also checked out "The Lost Symbol" by Dan Brown to read again, as well as Ball Four by Jim Bouton.  Yep, old habits die hard.  Make that reading number #16.  A huge thanks to my wonderful wife for yet again opening an old welcome door. I'd invite and encourage everyone to make a trip to their local library again.  It's not the same place it was in high school and college.  I think you'll enjoy yourself.

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