Here, There be a Writer

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Essay: Thoughts of Reading

Reading is is a pastime that many of us enjoy,or  that students have to experience (some do, others don't), and that teachers do daily.

From MorgueFile
Reading is not just about reading the next Harry Potter novel or classic Moby Dick. I have not tried reading that book, yet. Reading is something that pretty much everyone does on some level. Think about it. Seriously! You have to read the instructions on the mac and cheese box or read the directions on the box of laundry detergent. It is everywhere! It is something built in to our brains, even if not everyone can do it I feel that reading is necessary to ones own pysche.

As I have yet to see people who can't read (unless they are two) or don't want to (I still see them reading magazines or news articles).

Reading is life. At least to me it seems to be life. Maybe that is the difference, but I have yet to be fully convinced.

See, I remember spending days at my local library, either reading Beatrix Potter books, Black Stallion and Nancy Drew books, oh, and the guilty pleasures of The Baby Sitter's Club books. Yes, I was one of them!!! The librarians introduced me to Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising Sequence. I also played Book-opoly, a summer reading program where I read Marguerite Henry books (think Misty and Stormy), books about dogs, and mysteries. Then when I was in middle school-about fourth, fifth, and sixth grade-we had the Book It!. It was a reading program that got kids to read and rewarded them with pizza from Pizza Hut. There were many trips to Pizza Hut when I was younger. So you see there was always something making me read, even if I didn't always want to read. The first year of Book It! I was not the most determined reader, that would happen later. I read only a little bit, but more than others.

But, as I look at my life I can see that I was destiny to read. I love sharing books with others, reading and telling stories to little children, and writing my own stories down.

When I think about books I get a happy, fuzzy feeling. They smell good. Feel wonderful under my fingers. Books are like friends telling you a wonderful secret. I have many secret lining my books shelves and I am always on the look out for more. There is always a stack of books to be read in my house. I always say I will get through the stack, but like any bibliophile (lover of books), I am buying more. Heaven help me going into a bookstore.

For the last two years I have been taking part in Goodreads Reading challenge. I am not a fast reader, but I am a determined reader. Usually, I can get through a book in 2 to 4 weeks, unless it is a harder read, or a really long book. Some books, like Wrinkle in Time or Bridge to Terabitha can take me merely a day to read. I always strive to be able to remember the story after I finish reading the book, so no rushing through to just finish the book here. This year the goal is 40 books. I read 40 last year, starting at 30 books (tried to get to 50 halfway through the year). I am already at 5 books. Granted I have picked up the shorter novels to novel to get me into the reading spirit for 2016. I also have about three books going at one time, and therefore read what I am most in the mood for. In my queue is currently at Inkspell (Cornelia Funke), Victory on Janus (Andre Norton), Murder Comes to Shore (Julie Anne  Lindsey), and a non-fiction book  on poetry.

I usually read fiction, science fiction, fantasy, mystery, but other times I do read non-fiction. Currently, I am reading Writing the Australian Crawl, which is a book of essays on writing and poetry by William Stafford. He is a poet and writer. My friend Kevin gave me the book for Xmas and I am working my way through it. I have had to resort to my process of reading textbooks, like I did in college, by using a pencil and reading small chunks at a time. Most books for me are reading to slide into, but when I am reading something like a textbook, or a collection of essays I need to take my time.

Any book that has paragraphs that take up a whole page is going to take me longer. I remember my literary theory class in college, well, actually I barely remember it, because the essays and chapters were so long that I would forget what I read after I read it. That and the teacher was a terrible, cruel teacher (aren't they usually). That was when I veered from non-fiction, specifically essay/theory books. I don't mind reading a history book, as long as it is about an interesting (See Sin in the Second City. It is a fun read.). So, as I read the Writing the Australian Crawl I am finding that I have to relearn how to read. This isn't necessarily bad. It is very good. You should learn something everyday. In fact, I am finding that while it is taking me a longer time to finish, I am understanding it more. At least so far!

Remember how I said that reading is built in to us. I still believe that is true. I may not understand everything I read, but I can find that in the learning there is always something you take from the words, always. If you never learn from life, the universe, and everything (42, man!), then you will never grow. I could always read my sci-fi/fantasy and never see outside that, or only read about the news. I could never try to understand how to write a poem, but then chances are my poetry would never get better.  But I would not feel whole.

Playing Witch #1 this Spring
So, I try to inspire others to read, write, act, direct, or just life your life with purpose. Maybe I will convince someone to read something different. Maybe I will be inspired to read or write something different, and that I feel is the better than not. Truth, some people will not read novels, but maybe I will inspire someone to try. That is really the reason for this essay, self discovery.

So I read books that I harder for me, I stretch my literary muscles by performing Shakespeare (means I have to read it to understand it), I read books outside of my comfort zone, and sometimes I will just not finish a book (it is true, but that is for another blog post and another time). I am learning. Hopefully I helped you find something within my words to inspire you.

I am a reader, a scholar, and thespian, and writer, a friend, a mentor, a person.

What are you, Dear Reader?

What do you like to read, Dear Readers? What type of books, styles, authors are your favourite? Your least favourite? Leave me some love in the comments section.

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