I have recently rediscovered a pleasure I have left behind for too long.
Working at this job, which requires a lot of reading and writing in itself, has had a weird effect on me. In my free time, I have found over the past few years that I read less and less. The most I could seem to manage on a weekly basis were various news and magazine articles.
Read a book? For the most part, forget it. By the time I would get through with one I’d forget what the first part was about (or so it seemed). It was like trying to watch a movie on DVD – after you keep starting and stopping it so much you kind of lose interest.
It had gotten so bad that I saved up books that I thought looked interesting for that trip to the beach, where I would then sit and devour as much of them as I could while listening to the ocean waves.
But it was just not enough – I am a lifelong reader. When I was little I devoured Dr. Seuss books, later progressing to the Laura Ingalls Wilder series, and of course, Old Yellar, The Call of the Wild, Rascal, Black Beauty and any other book I could get my hands on about animals.
In high school and college, I read everything that wasn’t nailed down (and some things that were) and then as a stay-at-home mom, I read as much as I possibly could. Kids ready for a nap? Time to read. Summer trips to the swimming pool? An excellent time to read something.
Reading has always taken me to another place, removed me from the everyday and provided me with another dimension, if you will. Non-fiction stories about others trials, troubles and triumphs have always connected me to the humanity in all of us in ways that TV, the movies, or other media sources have never been able to. And reading has inspired me to share a little of myself through my own writing.
What a gift reading is. I couldn’t imagine what my life would be like if I could not read.
When I was three years old or so, my daddy (who had a seventh grade education himself), sat with me and taught me my first reading words. He took Dr. Seuss’s book “Hop on Pop” and taught me to pick out the word “the” on each page. My mind took off like a race car from there. I was thrilled. Daddy smiled and laughed with me – he knew what he was doing and how important it would be to me.
So, I forced myself to put all things aside a few weeks ago and sat and read a book. I let the floors go without vacuuming, I turned the TV off (another inhibition to reading) and I even forgot about work for the paper (don’t tell the boss). It was great. I felt satisfied and I told myself that reading is as important to me and my well-being as eating the right foods and taking my medication. Since then, I’ve tried to have at least a pocket paperback in my purse at all times – just in case I have moment to read.
Don’t deny yourself, or your children, the gift and the joy of reading. There’s nothing like the feel of that book in your hands and the worlds that it can open up for you. You can travel, experience cultures and places that physical and monetary limitations may not otherwise allow.
If you haven’t read a book lately – read one, And read another one (or two) to your kids or grandkids. You’ll be glad you did.
Margie Richards is a reporter and office manager for The Madison County Journal.