My last post was about libraries – this one is about books specifically.
Growing up I remember trips to the library when my brother and I would pick out crazy amounts of children’s books, bring them home, and devour them. I read so much as a child that there was no chance I would stop as an adult. While I don’t read as much as I’d like to these days (seriously, if I could find a way to make money on it I’d like to just read and write all day…mostly read), I still read more than most.
I generally prefer literary novels and classics, but I also love hard-boiled detective fiction (Chandler and Hammett, for example) and some sci-fi/fantasy stuff (Gaiman, for one). I pick up some nonfiction as well, although not as much as I probably should. I enjoy reading about cooking and kitchen science/chemistry and have acquired a taste for fashion. Other than books I read blogs of all sorts and a lot of news articles with a fair number of op/eds mixed in.
I’ve taken my love of books for granted off and on for my entire life. I talk to people who don’t know who, say, Anne Boleyn is and I’m flabbergasted. The truth is I take that type of knowledge for granted. Of course I know who Anne Boleyn is – her story and her daughter’s story are probably two of the most-written about in historical fiction. Of course I think you should know who she is regardless because of the role she and her family played in history regarding marriage, religion, and the rulers of England, but I have an advantage because I’ve read so many fictionalized accounts of the historical figures of the era.
In high school people used to ask me how I did so well in my classes, and I’d respond immediately with, “I read the book.” It always seemed like they were looking for some easy answer – like maybe I knew some special way to know everything without ever having to work to learn it. Reading came easily to me probably because I learned to love it early in life.
Reading is important beyond description. It is one of the easiest ways to acquire knowledge, to be right about thing, to teach yourself to think more deeply. The more you read, the more you understand in life, school, work or what have you. I don’t always take my love of reading for granted, but I do far more often than I should.
(I can count, I swear…)