2004-12-19

On Books, Reading, and Ditch-Digging

Matt's recent post about books and reading mirrors my own experience:
"I love books, I love browsing stacks, I love libraries... I like collecting books, I always have a stack nearby to read, I love looking through picture books, and I love books even though I didn't really become much of a reader until the end of my college years."
Except for the part about college, I'm the same — I have two huge stacks to read here at my flat. One of the most satisfying things about finishing college, imho, was that I could read what I wanted when I wanted, without feeling guilty for skipping what had been assigned as homework.

Though I've only been keeping track of what I've read since July, 2000, my love for reading began in Middle School. My Dad had always been always an avid reader, and I recall hearing him utter this sagely advice on multiple occasions:
"If you don't start reading, you'll end up a ditch-digger."
The significance of this statement finally sunk in one day when we were driving up to Gramps' farm; I was looking out the window of the truck and saw the ditch going by on the side of the windy gravel road. I pictured myself shoveling mud and dirt and rocks out of that same ditch, day after day until the end of time, if I didn't start reading. I snagged Dad's copy of Jurassic Park as soon as we got home that day* and didn't look back.

Since then, I don't think I've ever *not* been reading. It got out of control earlier this year when I had like 6-7 books going, but I've decided to tone it down to just ~3. My new policy is:
Wrapping things up, Matt says:
"I'm going to take a holiday trip soon to a fairly remote location where there's not much to do besides read. I'm going to sit and read the only book I've wanted to read this year, and I have a feeling it might just be one of the last dead tree books I read for a long time."
I took that one to India with me and finished it just before our trek began — it's a damn good read. Ev dug it, and AdamB is digging it right now.

This Christmas holiday, aside from seeing family and friends back in Ohio, the thing I'm most looking forward to is reading. :-)


* I'm probably exaggerating here, and Dad, Mom and Jack probably recall my initial reading endeavors more clearly than me. Perhaps they could leave comments here if they've anything to add?

3 comments:

  1. I totally agree with you: it is impossible to read while at college. Just waiting to get out of college so I can start reading again.

    Am currently reading an interesting book titled "Bargaining for Advantage" by Richard Shell. Do check it out sometime later.

    Cheers,
    D.

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  2. Yes, Eric, we've something to add. You were always such a good little reader, now weren't you, yes you were.

    - Dad, Mom and Jack

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  3. Since you read so much, can you recommend a book for my book club? We want something funny, light-hearted and yet philosophical at the same time (or at least it should offer lots to talk about).

    We've read...

    Romantic Movement by Alain de Botton
    Generation X by Doug Coupland
    Great Gatsby
    Straw Dogs by John Gray
    How to be good by Nick Hornby
    Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
    Man and Superman by GB Shaw
    The Corporation by Joel Bakan

    Thanks. :)

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