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My teachers were on to something 35 years ago: Reading is fun

My teachers were on to something 35 years ago: Reading is fun

Posted: Friday, June 15, 2012 8:02 pm
By: David Critchlow Jr., Editor

My teachers were on to something 35 years ago: Reading is fun | My teachers were on to something 35 years ago: Reading is fun
“Leave Me Alone I’m Reading.”
I haven’t read the book yet, but I couldn’t resist buying it — maybe to keep handy as a not-so-subtle hint to anyone who sees me with a book in front of my face.
More and more often, that’s exactly the way my family and others have seen me. Surprisingly, I haven’t had many (if any) complaints about my face being obstructed by a book.
And I’ve been reading everywhere: From the safety of my recliner to the potentially dangerous treadmills at a local health club (the “walking and chewing gum at the same time” idiom comes to mind on the latter).
And no Kindles or iPads for me. I like to hold an actual book. I like to flip the pages. I like to use real bookmarks, whether it’s a playing card, a red-light ticket or a chewing gum wrapper. I like to see the book on my bookshelf after I’ve finished it — unless it’s a library book, of course, and then I will try to return it in a timely manner to avoid the embarrassment of having the Overdue Library Book Police knocking at my door. If I fail to do so, however, I can always look on the bright side and consider my late fees my annual contribution to the finest library in the region.
Another reason to read actual books over the computer alternatives? You don’t ever hear about someone breaking into a car to steal a book, do you?
While I love reading, I would never make it as a book critic because my descriptions would usually be one-word answers, such as “good,” “bad,” “weird,” “different,” “exciting,” “boring,” “long,” “great” and on and on… For what it’s worth, I do have a few observations about some books and authors I’ve read or thought about reading lately.
Anything by Vince Flynn — He has written about a dozen thrillers and, not surprisingly, the good guy always wins in the end. These books make for exciting, fast-paced reads. Fortunately, we’re hearing that the heroes like those featured in Flynn’s books are actually out there in real life targeting terrorists. I have an attorney friend who has been my librarian on these if anyone wants to check them out; however, his late fees are a bit high.
Jeannette Walls’ “The Glass Castle” and Rick Bragg’s “All Over But The Shoutin’” — Fascinating memoirs by fascinating people. Many area residents were fortunate enough to meet these two authors during recent visits.
“The Help” — I’m sure author Kathryn Stockett upset some folks in the South with this one, but it was an eye-opening read and a great representation of the maid/employer relationship in the South during the 1960s. Hint: Don’t upset Minnie the maid.
“Heroes For My Daughter” — Brad Meltzer, who writes thrillers, comic books and hosts the show “Decoded” on the History Channel, wrote this book as a follow-up to his “Heroes For My Son.” They are books comprised of short stories on famous and not-so-famous people who can serve as an inspiration to the young and old alike. Tip: If you send him a copy of a book with return postage, he will personalize it to your son or daughter.
“The Sound And The Fury” — William Faulkner’s writing style is described as a stream of consciousness, which is the continuous flow of sense perceptions, thoughts, feelings and memories in the human mind or a literary method of representing a blending of mental processes in fictional characters, usually in an unpunctuated or disjointed form of interior monologue blah, blah, blah… Sorry, but my brain can barely comprehend that sentence, much less make sense of a 150 word stream-of-consciousness sentence written by Faulkner (Pulitzer Prize winner or not).
“To Kill A Mockingbird” — Harper Lee’s classic is simply that — a classic. Years ago, I received a signed copy of it from my sister and was thrilled. Thinking it was a great gift, my wife and I got additional signed copies to give away. Giving one to the godmother of one of our daughters, she said she appreciated it but wondered if we had signed it ourselves since she believed the author to be deceased. We assured her Harper Lee was still living and the signature was authentic. Our friend then admitted she had once signed a picture of Telly Savalas for her mother, which made her suspicious of all autographs. If we had only thought of that trick, we could have saved some time and money.
Ernest Hemingway — I’m still trying to figure out the legendary author and his pursuit of writing “one true sentence.” He liked bullfights, drinking, writing and women, including — but not limited to — four wives. Reading biographies on the Nobel Prize winner helps, but he remains an enigma.
“War and Peace” — Leo Tolstoy’s masterpiece is 1,400 pages and that’s all I need to know. Maybe I’ll take a look at the CliffsNotes version of it.
“Hop On Pop” — Quite simply, author and poet Theodor Seuss Geisel takes reading to a new level — my level.
“50 Shades of Gray” — E.L. James’ book has been a hot, and apparently steamy, topic. I haven’t read it but, from what I’ve heard, I would probably fall off the treadmill reading it.
“The Hunger Games” — The first book in the sci-fi trilogy by best-selling novelist Suzanne Collins, this futuristic battle for survival takes reality shows to a new level. While it initially targeted children 13 and up, I’ve noticed all ages reading and debating the book. And, as in most cases, the book is better than the movie.
Speaking of reality shows, I’m sure I’ve missed out on some fine ones on TV during my reading binge. And there have been other sacrifices, such as losing my A-game in Words With Friends and missing out on house-training my daughters’ latest puppy.
Overall, however, it has been worth it, and the Obion County Public Library is a great place to start. My suggestion? Check it out!
Editor David Critchlow Jr. may be contacted by email at dgc@ucmessenger.com.
Published in The Messenger 6.15.12

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