I don’t know exactly why, but I’ve always been a reader, way back to my days in elementary school and The Weekly Reader. Do they even have those anymore? In those days my mother bought me one of those huge 1000-plus page unabridged dictionaries. You know the kind you see in libraries on their own stand? Weighed ten pounds probably but I would page through it regularly looking at all the black and white pictures accompanying the definitions and reading what I found interesting. These days I’m happy with the smaller Webster’s Collegiate.
Then it was on to The National Geographic Magazine. Back then you had to be nominated by another member (my best friend Eddie) which included a very official looking Certificate of Nomination, gold seal and all and signed by the Chairman. I’d look forward to those glossy monthly issues and all those beautiful photos and would read each of them cover-to-cover. They even smelled good! Those were heady days for me as a card-carrying member of such a pretigious organization (just the same as it was for the young George Bailey from my favorite movie, It’s a Wonderful Life).
Later when I was a young teen my mother went to the great expense of purchasing a complete set of the Encyclopedia Britannica. 24 volumes as I recall with annual yearbooks that stretched ahead for at least the next 8-10 years, possibly more. Those too, especially the yearbooks, I would constantly read and refer to.
There’s more I could write about my voracious appetite for books and magazines, but I’ll save that for another day. Suffice to say:
A person who won’t read has no advantage over one who can’t read. ~~ Mark Twain, American Author
Books are more than books, they are the life, the very heart and core of ages past. The reason why men lived, and worked, and died, the essence and quintessence of their lives. ~~ Amy Lowell
I think the kind of books one reads says a lot about the person. I prefer reading nonfiction as I’ve found there really is no comparison to the realities of life. I love reading about real people and events. I love history, the people, places and things that brought us to where we are today. They’re great teachers about how to react to — and deal with — our todays.
Lately I’ve turned to reading some fiction as well. I think it could help me become a better writer and — as I’ve written before — friends have suggested there’s a book inside me, somewhere that needs to come out. Fiction or nonfiction, I’m not sure that hidden book’s nature. I’m not sure even if it will ever come out, beyond what you find here or in my personal history that will someday be shared with my family and a few close friends. Whether fiction or non, books take you places your feet can’t go.