Friday, December 16, 2011

Reading is Fundamental

On Thanksgiving, my cousin-in-law asked me if I'd read any good books lately.

That seems like reasonable conversation, doesn't it? Especially if, like her, you love to read and are always on the lookout for the next good book. Or if, as she's heard about me, you started reading about six minutes after you started talking and never stopped, losing yourself in book after book, flopping down around the house next to whatever bookshelf caught your eye (including the one in the hallway by the bathroom), eventually working in the town library and reading your way through a sizable chunk of the collection there, too. It's totally reasonable Thanksgiving conversation. She and I are both readers, for sure.

So I was embarrassed to have no answer for her. I stumbled around a little but ultimately offered her nothing. She tried to have the same conversation the next day, with similar results.

Here is the truth that I did not say: I read all day for work, and when I am not reading for work, I read online. Books? Lately? I read picture books to my niece sometimes, and every now and then, I pull out something from my collection of favorite young adult novels and re-read that. Sometimes the 1974 Readers Digests in my room at my parents' house. ANd, um, I watch a lot of Murder, She Wrote, which is about a lady who writes books. No, not so much with the "any good books lately." But I have read a seriously startlingly large sample of The Internet.

When I told this story to my sister, she suggested that I should change that, that reading books is good for me. I tried to get her to explain how reading books, specifically, is better for me than all the thousands and thousands of words I read every day for work and pleasure, and before she could make the only reasonable answer to that there is (attention span), her two-year-old distracted her and so I am victorious!

Unless she's right, that is, in which case I lose and don't even know it. So, just in case, I'm giving it a shot. I'm on vacation from December 24 through January 2, and I am going to read a bunch of books and tell you about them.

Don't bother to recommend books to me — or rather, go ahead, but it won't do you a lot of good; I rarely read books on recommendation from other people. But please use the comments to tell me what you want to be sure I include in my (very brief) reviews of books I read on my winter vacation.


Joe said...

I don't have any recommendations, but I just wanted to echo your sentiments. That was always my excuse for not picking up books when I was a reporter - I read all day, and it was the last thing I wanted to do when I got home. I've gotten a little better about it during the post-journalism period.
Recent page-turners have included "The Saggy Baggy Elephant," "I'm A T-Rex" and, of course, anything by the great Dr. Seuss.

Genny said...

I always have one book to "recommend" ready for these types of conversations. What I have been reading lately would make most people be embarrassed for me because "good literature" it is not. :)

bzzzzgrrrl said...

I am intrigued by this "I'm A T-Rex;" my niece is often a dinosaur these days, so she says.

bzzzzgrrrl said...

This cousin-in-law is not a book snob; if I'd read The Valley of the Dolls lately, I'd tell her so. But I haven't.

Joe said...

Here ya go. It's a spine-tingling tale that vividly depicts T-Rex's domination of the dinosaur world.
Seriously, it's a short and fun read for kids.

Amanda said...

I can't WAIT to read your reviews.