“I am a librarian. I discovered ‘me’ in the library. I went to find ‘me’ in the library. Before I fell in love with libraries, I was just a six-year-old boy. The library fueled all of my curiosities, from dinosaurs to ancient Egypt. When I graduated from high school in 1938, I began going to the library three nights a week. I did this every week for almost ten years.”
– Ray Bradbury
Again it’s that time of year to plan my ‘reading schedule’ for next year.
I read a lot. At least to me, it’s a lot, considering I grew up a horribly slow reader and am still probably a slower reader than most. But I place a high value on books.
“When I have a little money, I buy books; and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes.”
– Desiderius Erasmus
There are so many stories and ideas to explore, so much to learn…and just plain fun to be had.
While I’ll look to the year ahead in my next post, here I’m looking back at 2014 and a bit of my personal history.
Truly, this has been a ‘crazy’ year with far less time to read than I would have liked. Without a doubt that’s a problem most readers have. For my part, with all this year’s ‘challenges,’ I’ve spent more time thinking about what’s important.
Growing up, I almost flunked 1st grade because I was so far behind everyone else in learning to read. Humiliated because I was the worst “reader” in class, books were an embarrassment and of little value. My loves growing up were pop culture in the form of movies, T.V. and music.
It was MUCH later, way into adulthood, I finally came to realize how important books, all kinds of books, are in my life. I have just one child, a daughter who, for lack of siblings developed a great love for books. Being the dutiful parent I was, as she grew up, my desire to read to her played no small part in changing my attitude toward reading.
I still love my movies and music, and T.V. has a few things that I enjoy, but books have been a great gift in my life.
This past year, maybe subconsciously to help relieve stress, my reading tended to lean toward fiction.
Some included these books, all made into movies that I really liked:
The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy
Get Shorty by Elmore Leonard
In the spring I always read something in anticipation of opening day for baseball. This year’s choice was rereading Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella (another great book made into a great movie.)
There were a couple of CS Lewis stories:
That Hideous Strength (having read the first two of his space trilogy a year earlier)
The Great Divorce, “a bus ride from hell to heaven,” a revisit to a favorite of mine.
I’m finishing up the year crossing off a “classic” from my ‘To Read’ list, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. The understanding and insight (I’ve been told) Austen had into men and women is my main interest in reading it. Along with the fact that my wife is proud of me for broad-ening (pun intended) my reading list into this (please forgive the chauvinism) “girly” book.
Always a biography/history and pop culture fan, my non-fiction reads in 2014 included:
Einstein by Walter Issacson
Heroes by Paul Johnson
Apollo 13 by Jim Lovell & Jeffrey Kluger (another book to film…I’m a big movie fan, can you tell?)
A few self help/inspirational books are always among my choices. I really enjoyed Start by Jon Acuff, a book of encouragement to follow your dreams.
And one of my favorite books this year was Draw the Circle by Mark Batterson. It’s a Christian/Inspirational book with a focus on prayer. I have to say this book has changed my life. It’s “focus” on talking to God (prayer), getting to know God, making God more real in my life, has been amazing. It’s a “40 day devotional” that I spent about 120 days reviewing and re-reviewing because of all the insight and practical application.
Thus far I’ve spent more of my life with a fear of reading versus a love of reading, so I’ve a bit of catch up to do. And it’s a lot of fun looking out for good books to read. As I’ve often quoted Frank Zappa, “So many books, so little time.” I’m thankful for blogs like Bob on Books and Adopting James that regularly post book reviews. They’ve been helpful in discovering books I might not have otherwise stumbled upon.
A good book is truly a wonderful gift.
“Books are the perfect entertainment: no commercials, no batteries, hours of enjoyment for each dollar spent. What I wonder is why everybody doesn’t carry a book around for those inevitable dead spots in life.”
– Stephen King
The joy, the inspiration, the things I learn, the “gifts” I’ve receive from books; the mentors I’ve found in authors, in characters, the stories that provide insight and clarity to life – these are the rewards of good books. Not to mention the conversations a good book will start, the friendships that revolve around favorite books, and last but not least, a good adaptation can prove to be a pretty cool film.
“I do not believe that civilization will be wiped out in a war fought with the atomic bomb. Perhaps two-thirds of the people of the Earth might be killed, but enough men capable of thinking, and enough books, would be left to start again, and civilization could be restored.”
– Albert Einstein
So …now it’s time to assemble a draft of my ‘To Read’ list for 2015. (to be continued in my next post)
“I must say I find television very educational. The minute somebody turns it on, I go into the library and read a good book.”
– Groucho Marx